The Eildon Hills – a walk steeped in local legend!
WALKING IN THE SCOTTISH BORDERS
The Scottish Borders offers a variety of walks to suit all levels of fitness, and at Fauhope we’re lucky enough to be situated in the heart of some of the best walking routes in the area.
Why not stay with us en-route, if you have plans to conquer the 212 mile Southern Upland Way (a coast to coast walk from Portpatrick in the west, to Cockburnspath in the east), the 62 mile St Cuthbert’s Way from Melrose to Holy Island or the local 68 mile circular Borders Abbeys Way route. There are also many other, less demanding walks from Fauhope’s doorstep, including a leisurely walk by the Tweed and back through the village of Gattonside which has a couple of lovely restaurants. See the booklet link mentioned below for a variety of local walks, ranging in length from 2 miles to 10 miles.
A FAVOURITE WALK
A favourite walk that’s right on Fauhope’s doorstep is the Eildon Hills. Staying in luxury at Fauhope Country House, you can eat a hearty “pre-walk” Scottish breakfast while taking in the view across the garden towards the three peaks you’re going to climb. It’s a fantastic walk at any time of year – experience them snow-capped in winter, or in their full purple-heather glory in late summer – they never fail to impress.
Eildon Hill lies south of Melrose, overlooking the town. Locals tend to call them ‘the Eildons’ due to the triple peak, the mid hilltop, being the highest at 1,385 feet, has a trig point and monument to Sir Walter Scott and the views are spectacular in all directions.
It’s an easy walk from Fauhope, downhill into Melrose, to join the circular Eildon Hills Route, a 4-mile intermediate level walk, steep in parts when reaching the summit (or summits if you decide to take in all three peaks). You’ll need a sturdy pair of walking boots, as it can be muddy in places. The walk is route number 6 in this handy downloadable booklet.
HISTORY MIXED WITH LOCAL LEGEND
The Eildon Hills have a great many stories associated with them and are steeped in legend.
It was said that the three peaks were the result of Michael Scott, the Scottish Borders wizard, who used his magic staff to change the course of the River Tweed and split the Eildon Hills into the three peaks. Local historical figure and world-renowned author, Sir Walter Scott of Abbotsford, wrote that Michael Scott was buried with his books of magic near a cross in Melrose Abbey, although this has never been proven.
Thomas the Rhymer (True Thomas), a legend based on a 13th-century Scottish laird and poet, was said to have been resting by the Eildon Tree at the foot of the hills and met the Queen of the Elfland. Thomas was transported to the Fairy Kingdom and served the queen for seven years before returning, the queen bestowing on him the gift to foretell the future. He became very famous and made his predictions in the form of rhymes or songs. His final prophecy came after the annual village banquet when villagers witnessed white deer walking among the crowd. He said, “My sand is run; my thread is spun; those messengers are for me.” He set out towards the tree, under which he first met the Elf Queen, and was never seen again. Some say he returned to the Fairy Kingdom, others that he lives in the hollow Eildon Hills and one day, like Merlin, he’ll return and help Scotland in her hour of need! You can visit the Rhymer Stone at the foot of the Eildons, which is said to mark the spot of the Eildon Tree.
So, whether you enjoy a great walk or a tall tale, a walk up the Eildons is a must when staying at Fauhope Country House, we look forward to welcoming you!