This blog is to introduce you to my town - Peebles, in the Scottish Borders - just one photo at a time, with perhaps a little description and maybe some history thrown in. I hope you will find it interesting. The title comes from a historical comment made by someone who preferred Peebles to the great and famous cities. I know how they felt. It's always a pleasure to return here however long you've been away.

If you want to make a comment, ask me a question, or merely just want to say "hello, I've dropped in", you can do that by using the comment section below each entry. (Just click on the word COMMENT and follow instructions. ) I'd love to know what you think of what you see of my town.

I don't have an expensive elaborate camera so the photo quality may not be brilliant, but I'd like to think my pics will please you. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Thanks to Mary H for the lovely designs I used for my background, and thanks too to all of you who have chosen to support my blog by becoming "followers".

Tuesday, 29 December 2009


I've put more of my snowy pics on my other blog, but here is a tiny snowman - only about 9 inches high - that someone built on the parapet of the Cuddy Bridge. It seems customary to at least write in the snow on the bridge parapets but this little guy with his leaf hat on was far nicer.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Tweed Bridge

I said I would take a photo of the snowman in daylight, but I'm afraid he didn't survive that long. By 11.00 p.m. his head had been knocked over, and by the morning there was only the original snowball base. Now it has been knocked about a bit more! Such a shame!

So another snowy picture today! The snow on the trees in the background was what made me take the photo. On the right is The Trust - the Bridge Inn - and on the left the old police house. The road going off to the left is Port Brae, sometimes referred to as Police Brae, which goes down to Tweed Green. The less used road, to the Swimming Pool, goes off to the right just after the bollards outside the Trust.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

More snow

It's dark and it's snowing heavens hard, even as I write, and out there on the Green a family have been rolling a large snowball or two and building a snowman! So, viewed from my window here's the snowman taking shape. He's now become an American snowman, with two snowballs for his body and one for his head. He has a face, and buttons down the front of the middle snowball, with twig arms sticking out of it too. If I can, I'll take another photo tomorrow in daylight from closer up!


Pretty much the same view as the one a couple of posts ago, only this was taken a few days later in the snow. Pretty, eh?

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Christmas in Peebles 2

Alongside the Christmas tree on the Parish Church steps is the Nativity scene brought out every year to remind the good folk of Peebles that "Christmas begins with Christ".

Saturday, 19 December 2009

First snow of the winter

Viewed from my window, the first snow for this winter, that fell a couple of days ago! Not that there was much but it is darned cold out there just now - baltic, even!
Hard to believe that all that area from beyond the trees on the other side of the river to the path in the foregound was flooded not that long ago. You couldn't see the bench at all for water!
0 degrees Celsius today but sunny!

Christmas in Peebles

The Christmas tree on the Parish Church steps.
The Peebles Christmas lights were switched on a couple of weeks ago on the night of the town's Christmas Fair.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

....and again

Another old building in Parliament Square has the lintel dated 1743. I wonder who RS and HM were?

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Old Peebles again

You won't see it until you click to enlarge the picture but the plaque above the door gives the date of the building as "pre-1689" It is one of the buildings in Parliament Square, and is probably almost above the vaulted cellar. It looks to me as if it has been something like stables before, and the arches have been filled in! But who am I to say? Anyway it's a very old building, whatever!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Old Peebles

Not just any old doorway but one of the oldest parts of Peebles. Through the doorway and to the left is an ancient cellar with a rounded vaulted roof. I don't know its history but it is quite possibly part of the old castle, which has long gone! It is not open to the public but I saw it once on a historic tour of the town. The passageway is known locally as the Stinking Stair, though it's not really clear whether it is named for the tannery or the brewery that were supposed to have been situated around here, way back a few centuries ago.

The passageway connects the High Street at the top to the Green at the bottom of the lane behind me. and passes through a courtyard called Parliament Square. It is thought that in the 14th century the Scottish Parliament once met in a building in the courtyard somewhere.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

After the flood

I should have shown you this one the day after the flood. All that area of green grass was covered in water. The road was also under water, so we had quite a large lake out there.

Friday, 27 November 2009

One misty moisty morning....

Not exactly particular to Peebles, I just loved this iron fence covered in dewy spiders' webs one misty morning recently.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Autumn in Peebles 3

Just a bit out of town, at Eddleston, the sun began to shine through the mist, though not for long I have to say.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Autumn in Peebles 2

Not too good a day, huh? The mist didn't lift all day in town, though just a few miles up the road things were slightly better! Watch this space!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Autumn in Peebles 1

Well, I really do have to apologise for going AWOL for so long. However I am back and hopefully will be able to post regularly now.

So, two pictures today to make up for my absence. This first one is on a beautiful late October evening soon after I came back from my holidays. The Parish Church of course you will recognise from previous postings, but it was because of the sky that I had to take this view again.

Then there was the view from the bridge just around the corner. What is it they say? "Red sky at night, shepherds' delight..." Hmmm! If that's supposed to be a sign of good weather next day, then just wait till next time to see how it turned out!!!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Priorsford Bridge

Looking at Tweed Green from the south side of the river, the hill on the right is Venlaw, law being a familiar term for a hill in the lowlands. The footbridge is Priorsford bridge, a shortcut for lots of Peebles residents, including the kids at the High School.

The white building was the old hospital years ago, where many of the native folk of the town were born. They are known as Gutterbluids, and the incomers are Stooriefits! Peebles babies are usually born in Edinburgh these days.

The spire is St Andrews Leckie Church of Scotland in the Eastgate.

It's a lovely walk along the Green, across Priorsford Bridge, back to Tweed Bridge on the south side of the river, with a choice of crossing the bridge and returning to the Green or continuing upriver to cross Fotheringham Bridge, Manor Bridge or Lyne Bridge, depending on how energetic you feel, and returning along the northern bank of the river!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

High water

This arch of Tweed Bridge is often just trickling with water but after much heavy rain last week the river rose quite considerably, eventually flooding the tree roots here. It's gone down again now though.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Kingsmeadows House

Standard Life insurance company bought the house, once the seat of Sir John Hay, in the early 1950s since when it has been a repositary for their documents and more recently holiday accommodation for SL staff. There is a wonderful picture of the staircase on this website - here - and another of the house from across the river - here.

Monday, 24 August 2009

St Margaret's

It would be interesting to know the history of this old house facing Tweed on the south side of the river. The name and the ornamented front wall with its thistles and roses, the ornate door with its pair of lions, would suggest it was named for the Saxon Queen Margaret, wife of King Malcolm Canmore of Scotland, who was in fact canonised in 1250 almost 200 years after her death.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Standalane Cottage

....takes its name from the farm that stands alone on the hillside up the old North drove road to the left of the picture here. The drove road along which sheep and/or cattle were walked to and from markets continued past Standalane Farm and on to West Linton. The cottage must belong to the farm although these days it is probably not a farmworker's cottage. Stand alane (alone) has now been shortened to Stan'lan with just a hint of the d of stand!

Saturday, 22 August 2009

The Hydro

Peebles Hydro seems to be well known all over the country! If people know nothing else about Peebles, they know of the Hydro. Built originally in 1881, destroyed by fire in 1905, and rebuilt in two years, the hydro was where one came to take the waters. Now it is a hotel with so many facilities that it isn't necessary to leave the building at all! I love this view of the rooftops through the trees of Kingsmeadows.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Rosetta Road

The old county buildings! Now part of the building is home to various departments of the council; the local Sheriff Court convenes in part, and at the rear is the new police station. As I think I mentioned before this building stands on the site of the old Poor House.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Kingsland School

The pupils of St Andrews School at the bottom of School Brae marched all the way from their old school to the new one here at Kingsland, about a hundred years ago, and soon the pupils from here will be attending another new school at what is called Neidpath Grazings.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

School bell

The bell tower at Kingsland School - I don't suppose they ring it any more. Kingsland, on the northern edge of town is now too small for the catchment area so a new school is being built on the west edge of town, - a controversial site if ever there was one and the kids and staff want to keep the name, which is really only relevant to the position this one is in! It was built on King's land!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Tea is served!

The Tontine hotel front entrance with a large sign advertising afternoon tea, now being served.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Hanging baskets

Outside Scott Brothers's hardware shop, there is one of the beautiful hanging baskets provided by the council. See the chairs? Displayed outside the shop and for sale, you often find people sitting down on them for a wee rest!
This picture was unfortunately taken into the sun, because I love the view and because the clouds were wonderful, but I hope it will enlarge when you click it to see the view closer up!
It's the view towards Peebles from the north of the town, with the hills to the south and on either side of the valley of the Eddleston Water.
Do you see the scarecrow over the hedge? The white farm in the distance is Chapelhill Farm and there are a few of the buildings of the town in the distance, above the scarecrow's right arm - I presume he's facing Peebles direction!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Council Flowers

Everywhere is looking good just now with all the tubs and baskets provided by the local council.
They've really gone to town outside the Chambers Institution. Here, I am looking through the entrance into the Quadrangle with the Burgh Hall at the far end.
Through here you will also find the War Memorial, the Registrar's Office, and the door to the library, art gallery and museum.

Monday, 3 August 2009

young blackbird

I thought this young blackbird had damaged a wing, but as I got closer, it pulled in its droopy wing, hopped off and then flew onto the wall, allowing me to get a photo.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Lee Pen

Looking downriver, past Priorsford footbridge and beyond the trees, Lee Pen, the conical hill in the distance is bathed in a little evening sun, unlike Peebles where there was a brief shower of rain.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Secret Gardens

Walking along the High Street you can peep down some of the closes between the shops and sometimes get a glimpse of a garden. This close is looking nice with its planters, hanging baskets and bit of flowerbed.

Friday, 31 July 2009

A wee bit of Tweed Green

Just some of the houses along Tweed Green. The higher buildings are along the High Street. On the right is St Andrews Leckie church in the Eastgate.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

View from Tweed Bridge

The Parish Church dominates the Peebles skyline. In front is The Trust - The Bridge Inn - on the ground floor and Franco's pizzeria on the upper floor. Photo taken from Tweed Bridge.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

wally dug!

You know those china dogs the Victorians used to stand one at each end of the mantelpiece. We call them wally dugs here in Scotland. This picture, taken in the High Street, made me think of a wally dug!

Friday, 24 July 2009


Some countryside today, near Lyne, within easy walking distance of Peebles. At this stage of the year the wild flowers growing along the sides of the road make an excellent foreground to the
gentle hillside scenery behind.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Neidpath Castle

Not far from the site of the new school is 14th century Neidpath Castle, one of a series of fortified towers that were built along the valley of the river Tweed. Originally the stronghold of the Fraser family, it is now owned by the Earl of Wemyss. Its situation on a bluff above the river makes Neidpath a pretty impressive looking castle.

Unfortunately the castle is not open to the public just now. Instead it seems to be concentrating on becoming a special wedding venue, which I am sure it will be, but I am sorry not to be able to visit it any more.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

New school

A new school is being built right next to the main road west out of town. The whole project has been controversial ever since Day 1. Basically it is to replace Kingsland Primary School (built on the King's Land) on the north side of the town around a century ago, and whose population has now outgrown the building. Land nearby was suggested, and, I believe, offered, for the new school but excuses as to why this land should not be considered were several - and stupid. It feels like this site beside the main road and nowhere near Kingsland has been railroaded through by members of the council, for whatever reason, despite massive opposition from parents, and other interested parties. To most of us the new site is a most ridiculous choice, but as you can see work is progressing nonetheless and I think it is due to be completed next year. It continues to be controversial in the choice of name. Should it remain Kingsland, or take on a new name with the new building, something that will reflect the area where it is now to stand?

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Doctor's house

Lindores is the name of this corner house, built by local doctor, Clement Gunn, a very popular doctor and figure around Peebles in the late 19th century through to the 20th . We have him to thank for some aspects of our annual festival as it was he who suggested new innovations for the Beltane week which are now all part of the tradition.

Amazon's product description of his book - Leaves from the Life of a Country Doctor - says the following: -
"In this work, Clement Gunn presents not only his personal memories of his life as a country doctor but also provides an insight into the tales and traditions of one of Scotland's most beautiful areas. The Borders was a very different place when he went there to practise in 1885 than it is today. As a country Clement Gunn he saw life in both its best and worst aspects; from the poorest hovels to the great houses of the country gentry. Covering his practice on horseback and foot, this highly educated man noted and commented with great perception on both the great events that shaped his times and the more intimate details of daily life; from the weather to the death of Queen Victoria, from Belgian refugees arriving in 1914 to his purchase of a motor tricycle."

Monday, 20 July 2009

The Old Town

This is the last remaining single storey house in the Old Town, Peebles, although it has had an attic conversion to add another room upstairs.
The bigger window on the right that looks as if it might have once been another door, was actually an external passageway to the back of the house. You can see by the position of the chimney that the "end" of the house was to the left of the passageway.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

On holiday

I'll be back in a week or so, after enjoying myself visiting friends and touring in the west and south west of Ireland. I love the shape of Ireland - a bit like a bichon frise puppy I used to know, if you turn it 90 degrees to the left!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Red Letter Day

Today's the day the kids got their turn to star. The Beltane Queen and her court were chosen a few weeks ago and since then, there has been a lot of training and practising going on - all for the big day today when the Queen is crowned. Tradition based on many years takes centre stage and it is with great dignity and pomp that the ceremony takes place. Those who are not in the main entourage dress up as characters in traditional groups that have generally been part of the Saturday proceedings for many years. It is not uncommon to hear visiting ex-pats ask of each other "What were you in the Beltane?", So Andrew, I ask, "What were you?"
There are sailors and soldiers, penguins, children of other lands, flower girls, characters from Toyland, and so many others.

While the court stands at the top of the church steps, and the Queen receives her crown, all these other children have to stand on the lower steps and try not to look tired and fidgety - a tall order since the whole spectacle does go on a bit. Finally the deed done the Queen and her courtiers descend the steps and are helped into horsedrawn landaus , while the rest of the children troop off the steps in an orderly fashion to find their floats for the parade that will follow.

Pretty much everyone turns out to line the High Street for the big parade where parents, uncles and aunties, grandparents and the cousins can wave and shout Hur-ray! to their family member, throwing them a few sweets/candies/lollies as is also traditional.
After parading along the High Street and back, the lorries and landaus take a fixed route round the streets of the town, by which time the children are definitely tired and fed up! All the sweeties are gone and no-one to throw any more in the outlying parts of town. However, once they return to Tweed Green and the festival is all but over, they soon revitalise with the thought of an afternoon at the Shows, which is what we call the Fairground that has set up in a local park on the south of the river!
At night, the last event of the week was the Beating Retreat, an extravaganza of pipe bands from various towns, in Scotland and often further away. Then it is over! The bands disperse. The Shows move on, and tonight the bunting, flags and pennants will be taken down. Tomorrow it will seem like it never happened.

Friday, 19 June 2009

The Nicht afore the Morn!

Friday night, the night before the next day's big culmination in the crowning of the Beltane Queen! Friday night is fancy dress night, in which anyone who is inclined to dress up, alone or with a group can do so. There are competitions held on the Green by the river in the early evening, followed by a big parade along the High Street.
Generally the fellow with the penny farthing bicycle makes an appearance, in a different costume each year of course.

There are small groups and large groups, but the largest ones are the nursery (pre-school) entries who usually hire a lorry and decorate it to their theme.
Here is the float for the littlies of one of the nursery schools!