Border Break 1: Longnewton and St Boswells

Mum in the cottage, June 2021

It has taken me a long time to even look at these photos from June 2021 when we spent a week in a cottage in the Scottish Borders with Mum, our last major excursion before her final illness. The break had originally been planned for 2020, but with all the various lockdowns it was postponed three times, and by the fourth attempt Mum’s dementia was worsening. We were worried that taking her to an unfamiliar place might not be a good idea and I was prepared to Mum-sit the whole week while John went off walking or cycling, but in the end it was a reasonable success. We went out for a drive together each morning, stopping somewhere accessible for coffee or lunch, and in the afternoons Mum snoozed while John and I went off walking on our own, being careful not to be away too long.

Greenknowe Cottage is in a tiny hamlet called Longnewton. It’s all on one level, perfect for Mum, apart from the bedroom John and I used which is up a spiral staircase and has a good view of the surrounding farmland. We found it very comfortable, with a helpful owner, and I would recommend it.

The countryside around Longnewton is pretty, and includes an interesting old graveyard.

The nearest village is St Boswells which we visited a couple of times, including a lunch stop at the Main Street Trading Company. With a bookshop, a café, and a deli, what’s not to love? Cute van too.

We also liked the Village Hall with its Edward VII lamp:

And the Polwarth Fountain, commemorating the first piped water supply to the village:

So having set the Borders scene, next time I’ll take you to some of its picturesque small towns.


  1. The lamp on the village hall is a beauty, I love it when little touches like that are preserved. It keeps the character of a place. The graveyard looks right up my street too, not sure if the face is meant to be a skull? It looks quite friendly!


  2. I’m so glad your mom was ok and not too anxious. I could never have done that with my mom. The place looks really pretty as well as the countryside. I love checking out graveyards and that one with the face and a bow tie looks interesting. It looks like you had a really nice time.


  3. Hi Anabel – oh I’m so pleased you were able to have that trip together – and the cottage and area sounds ideal for the three of you at that time. I love the photo of your Ma – happy memories. That Douglas Fir is happily spreading its arms out into the cemetery – what a beautiful area. Wonderful post – thank you – Hilary


    • Yes, it was ideal for us and I’m glad it happened. If we’d had to postpone again we’d probably have cancelled instead as mum was becoming more confused. I love all the trees in this post, and the funny little face that the fir is trying to obscure in the graveyard.


  4. I’m glad you eventually did get to make the trip with your Mum. She looks so dear in that photo. Thistle doo sounds, um, interesting. I like the tree trying to devour the road, and the lamp sign.