Rolling hills, cathedral ruins, and stately manors all create an unforgettable experience. If you only have one day in Scotland this is how you should spend it. If you truly want to experience Scotland you need to get up early in the morning and drive about an hour south of Edinburgh to a place named Scott’s View. Scott’s view is an unforgettable viewpoint that gazes west across Scotland’s winding tweed to the three breathtaking peaks of the Eildons or “Hollow Hills”. This scene is forever engraved in my mind and the reason Scotland will always hold a special place in my heart. Overlooking Scotland’s rolling hills, you feel a sense of peace and contentment that can’t be explained. These are the legendary green hills of Scotland’s fame. I had been in Scotland for 3 days, but this was the first time I felt its ancient and wise soul.
Close to Scott’s View are the beautiful ruins of Dryburgh Abbey. Dryburgh Abbey, the resting place of Sir Walter Scott, was one of a group of Border Abbeys founded in 1150. All that remain of this magnificent cathedral are solid walls sounded by Scotland’s natural green tweed. The once peaceful and beautiful cathedral was tragically reduced to its present condition by repeated attacks and raids by the English in the 1300s. When you wander the ancient sacred sanctuary you can’t help but have conflicting feelings of intense sadness and loss but also extreme wonder and amazement.
Although you can’t see its grand ceilings and giant towers you can imagine its original magnificence. As you roam the ancient grounds you can almost hear the ghosts of the women of the abbey drifting through its courts, singing hymns, saying prayers and praising God. It is sad to think that human kind would destroy such an amazing creation, yet it is hard to imagine the Abbey any other way.
Wildlife has entwined itself around the splendid structure making nature and brick complement each other in a unique and Holy way. When you look up at the ceiling instead of stone and rock you see sky and stars. This fusion of nature and ancient design creates a spiritual experience that feels as if this was the original intent of the architect. My heart was touched as I roamed around these courts. I wondered about the women of the Abbey who lived and worshiped here. I felt the pain of their loss when this majestic place was burnt to the ground, but also I felt the presence of God and His indestructible power, gentle spirit and quiet strength.
Later in the day we went toured Abbotsford. Abbotsford is the house of Sir Walter Scott. Although Castle might be a better description of this fantasy in stone typical of the man who did so much to romanticize all things Scottish. The Manson sits on a large hill and over looks the River Abbot. Its rooms are a museum full of suits of armor, furniture and other items relating to Scotland’s history. It also houses a library with over 9,000 rare books that is adjacent to Scott’s study. The tour of the grounds is almost impressive as the house itself. This house or “Castle” is one of the most interesting places in all of Scotland. It is a must see if you are in the Border Area.