In Live Local with… Midlothian and Scottish Borders locals share their favourite places, from restaurants and shops to walks, views and more. The series is about all the things – big and small – that make living and working in the area so special. Read on and join in with our communities. It may lead you to incredible hidden gems to explore on your next day out.
Lynne is the founder and owner of Beirhope Alpaca Trekking. The business came about after a chance encounter at a Glamping Show: Having gone looking for yurts, everyone was surprised when Lynne returned with alpacas instead! But it was love at first sight, and Caesar, Diego, Graffiti and co feel right at home on the family’s smallholding. Located in the Cheviot Hills close to the Anglo-Scottish Border, visitors can feel miles away from it all, while also getting up close to the fluffy alpaca crew. Scotland truly does start here. And visitors can enjoy the stunning landscape on an alpaca trek in the local hills or at a ‘Meet-a-Paca’ session.
Take it away, Lynne. What are some of your favourite local places?
I’m lucky to experience the stunning landscape of the Southern Scottish Borders every day, either with my alpacas and customers, or on days off with our dogs Beau, Coco, and Spike. The hills offer something different on every visit. During Spring and Summer, birdsong soothes and calms, views almost sparkle with the sunshine – I couldn’t imagine a better place to stop and breathe in the calm and peaceful surroundings. In Autumn, the colours change, and as the days shorten, the harsh of Winter transforms the hills into a dramatic backdrop, full of secrets and stories.
Thowlestaine Hill Fort
For me, my most favourite walk is around the old Roman hill fort on Thowlestaine. That’s the hill that stands tall above Beirhope. In my opinion, you get the best views in the Borders from there! You can enjoy 360-degree views of all the major hills in the Borders – the Eildons, Peniel Heugh, and Ruberslaw. And across the Cheviot Hills, too – Hownam Law, The Schill and Cheviot. It’s simply stunning!
Pennine Way & St Cuthberts Way
We live midway between two famous walks: The Pennine Way and St Cuthberts Way. I have been lucky enough to walk on stretches of both of these walks though I have never completed them in full. Those feeling up to it can attempt the Montane Spine Race. Many see it as the toughest endurance race in the world, following along the 285 miles of the Pennine Way. There’s a lovely selection of hiking boots to be found at the end of the long-distance route – left as tokens of completing it. And that endpoint is another of my favourite places.
This is one of Scotland’s Great Trails passing through: Melrose, Bowden, Morebattle, Cessford, Newtown St Boswells, Harestanes, Maxton, Kirk & Town Yetholm. Distance: 62.5miles
The Border Hotel in Yetholm is the endpoint of the Pennine Way. So, while you may not find my hiking boots there, to me, it’s a lovely place to visit for a drink or some food or both! You can always be sure of a warm welcome from Julie and the team. It’s definitely worth a visit!
The area of Yetholm actually consists of two small villages – Kirk Yetholm and Town Yetholmm.
Keeping with the food theme, the Templehall Hotel in Morebattle is mid-way along the other long-distance route mentioned earlier, St Cuthberts Way. This is my ‘local’. And Kerry, Laura and the rest of the team always offer a fantastic, warm welcome. The famous Temple burger is a favourite in our house, and me and my family have enjoyed some lovely takeaway meals during recent months.
The village of Morebattle in itself is always worth a wander, too. It’s a quintessential, picturesque Borders village, sitting on the side of the Kale Water. Towards the South, the Cheviots dominate the views, and places like Cessford Castle and Corbet Tower are perfect for further exploration. The heroes of the village deserve a special mention at this time. The Village Shop is always stocked with essentials, even when nothing was available anywhere. And Stuart, our local butcher at Valley Meats, has worked tirelessly to keep us all supplied with fresh, local meat during lockdown.
Morebattle is a small village just seven miles south of Kelso in the Scottish Borders. It sits beside the Kale Water, a tributary of the…
Do you have any favourite local hangouts or personal highlights in Midlothian and the Borders? Let us know what makes them feel like home for you!