Stand on Ruberslaw’s rugged summit like an Iron Age farmer/warrior in the tribes’ hill fort, worrying about Roman Governor Agricola’s legions advancing in 80 AD over the Cheviots Hills, down Rulewater and into Teviotdale.
Or are you a Roman centurion in Hadrian’s army 100 years later standing on the same hilltop, now a signal station, worrying about rebellion and dreaming of safety behind that great new wall 50 miles to the south? What seem like grassy mounds on Ruberslaw are in fact the outlines of Iron Age and Roman fortifications.
Look down from your rocky viewpoint on Bedrule, home to William of Rule who once saved King Robert the Bruce from a wild bull, gaining the title “Turnebull”. Turnbulls became a notorious Clan of Border Reivers, although not all were bad - Archbishop William Turnbull, born here, founded Glasgow University in 1451. Bedrule Castle was destroyed by the English in 1545.
Or “Ca’ Canny” like a 17th Century Covenanter look-out while Prophet Peden holds an illegal mountain top Presbyterian service at Peden’s Pulpit (you can still see the stone “pulpit”) Look out for government dragoons climbing up to capture the rebel preacher.
Look over to Peniel Heugh and the Waterloo monument: This magnificent 150 ft high tower was constructed to commemorate the victory at the Battle of Waterloo (1815). The Duke of Roxburgh employed recently demobbed soldiers and set out woods around it to represent the regiments’ positions at the start of battle.
Then turn west to look over to the mill town of Hawick. It’s architecture, museums and mills testify to wealth generated from the markets of the Empire by an industry that peaked in the later 19th Century. It’s mills still export all over the world.
There’s so much more… the pele towers on various crags, the walks, rides and cycle routes through this beautiful landscape are full of hints of ages past that add interest and enjoyment to your day’s activities.
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