I'd been taken here as a young lad and my father filled my head with giants that had been slayed and buried in the grounds. Not sure how accurate that was but I have read up on my history since and know that the most famous dweller was James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell who after coming of the worst in an attempt to state his authority as the Keeper of Liddesdale was badly injured by little Jock Elliot and upon hearing this, his lover Mary Queen of Scots rushed to his bedside. He only just recovered from his wounds and she nearly died from the exhaustive journey to and from Jedburgh. Hepburn had a fairly scandalous life and got his just deserts by dying in a Danish prison.
Hermitage meanwhile fell into disrepair after Mary's son became King of both Scotland & England and the centuries long feuds along the border started to dissipate. Yet again, Sir Walter Scott came to it's rescue when he convinced the owner, the Duke of Buccleuch to stop the castle from becoming a total ruin.
Historic Scotland now runs the castle and although it is not that accessible, especially to the faint hearted drivers, it is worth a look at this foreboding structure.
I've visited this site several times over the years with the latest being a few days ago. The monks and their helpers always seemed strange to our wee town when I was young and I'm glad to have visited the place with a more balanced view.
The temple as ever is a stunning achievement and the rest of the site is now really taking shape. I'd recommend a visit any time.
The site is about a mile and a half North of Eskdalemuir on the B709. After my last visit, I continued North via a variety of roads to Innerleithen which were great to drive through.
- Arts and Culture
- Religious Travel