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Smailholm Tower | Border Reivers

Dramatic 14th century peel tower near Kelso.

What we like:

The Pringle family weren't taking any chances when they built a tower house to keep out the notorious Border Reivers: it's got 2.5m thick walls. It worked up to a point, but the Reivers still made off with 700 cattle and 100 horses. The location is atmospheric and Sir Walter Scott found it a source of inspiration.

In their own words:

"Sited high on a rocky outcrop, Smailholm is a small rectangular tower set within a stone barmkin wall.
This 65 ft towerhouse was built by a well-known Scottish Borders family in the first half of the 15th century, and today you can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding countryside from Smailholm Tower’s battlements.
Inside the tower is a model of this Pringle residence and a charming collection of costume figures and tapestries relating to Sir Walter Scott's Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders. It was the sight of Smailholm that fired Walter Scott's imagination when, as a young boy, he was brought up by his grandparents at the nearby farm of Sandyknowe."

Good to know:

The inside is only open April to September but it's still worth the fairly short walk from the road for a look at the outside all year round.

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Where it is:

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