22.11.2013

Scottish Borders

22.11.2013

Scottish Borders

The Borders in Scotland is a region about an hour from Edinburgh. It’s got lots of villages and towns spread out over the area; some bigger than others- reaching as far north as a place called Peebles (which is about 30 minutes from Edinburgh) and Jedburgh which is the furthest south of any of the border towns- which is famously known as the last town in Scotland before you enter England!

The best way to describe the borders, that although varied- it is built very much around traditions. As with a huge amount of Britain- it has a huge amount of history. Starting with the ever anticipated Common Riding which takes place in June every year- which delves into tradition massively- to commemorate the times of the past when local men risked their lives in order to protect their town and people. The Selkirk Common Riding is a celebration of the history and traditions of the Royal and Ancient Burgh. The ceremony is one of the oldest in the area- with 300-400 riders. Selkirk boasts one of the largest cavalcades of horses and riders in Europe.

Rugby is another big deal in the Borders- Rugby Union in the Scottish Borders has a long and significant history. All the main towns have their own team, though a lot of them come together as a collective to play as the Border Reivers. The Border League was the first rugby union league to be set up anywhere in the world. Many Borders clubs have helped train and nurture many of Scotland’s current internationals. Every year there is an event in the borders called the Melrose 7’s, where rugby union teams from all across the world and the border region come to compete at winning the melrose 7’s title, which is deemed to be a big deal!

A relatively newly refurbished of historical value in the borders- is Abbotsford House, near Melrose- in-between Galashiels and Jedburgh. It was the residence of historical novelist and poet Walter Scott, it was originally opened in 1824. That is definitely worth a visit, it has a fantastic cafe and restaurant now, and the views are amazing.

The Borders is very laid back in terms of lifestyle- but it also boasts the abundance of sporting activities that is available to play (and watch) and also popular. Whether it’s Horse riding, Rugby, Football, Fishing (plenty of rivers, lochs and local fisheries too!) and Game Shooting.

The landscapes in the borders is an ever changing feast for your eyes- and it’s a real treat. Like with anywhere in Britain, Scotland’s weather can never be certain- but one thing for sure the landscape never stays the same. This has definitely helped and inspired my Photography as it’s helped me dive into and explore colour combinations and textures with landscapes and even when i think i’am done with Photographing the borders, i find something else that sparks my imagination and i can look at it, with a different perspective.

There are numerous walks in the borders that are popular to both tourists and locals. Some of them are, St Cuthbertsway, Southern Upland Way, and Borders Abbey Walk.

With such beautiful scenery, and wide open spaces, it’s a great get away kind of place to get to- it has an array of great cafes and each town is very different but that’s what’s great about it! It’s about an hour to get to St Abbs beach which was known historically as Coldingham Shore which is a beautiful area and amazing seafood to be enjoyed! With Edinburgh only an hour away north, and Newcastle 2 hours away south- it’s got plenty to show and offer for young and old. Whether it’s great food, sport or having a break- it’s got the chill out factor going on! I can highly recommend it!

Photography tips:
Because the borders weather and light is ever changing, it’s good fun but also fairly essential to adjust but also to experiment adjusting the ISO to get the best possible results, All cameras are different, and i would suggest to really understand the camera you’re working with, just so you get more comfortable in what you’re using and so you could apply it more to the work you’re doing. Perseverance can help you get the images you want, but also experimentation is key, that’s what i love about creating images.

With the Borders landscape, its also really exciting to shake up usual photography practices- in terms of composition and try something new! This can be applied anywhere, by sometimes the simplest of things by changing the angle you photograph, whether that’s using a tripod, or not, which can drastically change the image.

Sally Wanless

About the author: Sally Wanless is a Photographer and is keen on Travels, Film, Design and Screenwriting.
www.sallywanless.com
Twitter: @sallywanless

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