Border Break 3: Wallace and Scott
Scott’s View, between Melrose and St Boswells, has a stunning view of the River Tweed and Eildon Hills, the latter serving as a reminder of the volcanic activity that once took place in the area. The lookout was known to be one of Sir Walter Scott’s favourite places to come and reflect. According to the plaque above, Scott (1771-1832) was the most popular writer of his age, and when he died his funeral procession was over a mile long. The horses stopped here on their way from Scott’s home at Abbotsford to his tomb in Dryburgh Abbey, just as they had done when their master was alive. The day after we visited the View, we passed through the grounds of Abbotsford on one of our walks.
The same view of the Eildon Hills, from a slightly different angle, can be enjoyed from the nearby statue to Sir William Wallace (1270-1305) – he of Braveheart fame. This was the first statue to Wallace in Scotland. It was commissioned by David Stuart Erskine, 11th Earl of Buchan, and made of red sandstone by John Smith of Darnick in 1814.
The inscription at Wallace’s feet reads:
Erected by David Stuart
Erskine, Earl of Buchan
GREAT PATRIOT HERO!
ILL REQUITED CHIEF!
These words are by 18th century poet, James Thomson, whose work the Earl of Buchan loved, and at the bottom of the hill housing Wallace’s statue, he built the Temple of the Muses as a memorial to Thomson. It originally sheltered a statue of Apollo, but at some point this disappeared and in 2002, following some remedial work, a new bronze statue representing the Four Seasons was commissioned from Siobhan O’Hehir.
Next time – wandering the Tweed and the Teviot.