The river Tweed runs through the Scottish Borders down to Berwick on Tweed. Once the most disputed border town in the UK. Berwick on Tweed is, officially, and English town. Its football team is, however, in the Scottish league!
The Tweed is a favourite river for anglers. They pay a licence fee to fish for salmon in this majestic river which meanders, and sometimes rushes, through the Borders including the town of Kelso.
Six miles from Kelso is the small village of Smailholm. Today I left my car and climbed to where 'The Tower House' of Smailholm still guards the surrounding area.
It's a steep climb and by the time I enter the tower I needed a short rest.
I did not fancy the further climb up the steep winding stone staircases to the very top. I've been there, done that - but still haven't got the tee-shirt!
For 300 years Scottish and English borderers endured violence, treachery, murder, arson, raiding and robbery. They lived in constant fear and often misery and squalor. The stories of the 'REIVERS' are many and varied. Bloody reminders of those fearful days.
Built in the 1500s this stone fortress in Smailholm housed people who were always vigilant and ready to repel the dreaded Reivers.
Smailholm Tower originally housed the Pringles and later the Scotts, two well established Scottish family names. Today it is a well-restored attraction and owned by Scottish Borders Council; open all the year round.
There were many of these tall tower houses in those violent and lawless days. Most of them have been demolished over the years but a number remain and tourists and visitors seek out those that still survive.