A Stroll to Dryburgh Abbey

You don’t have to walk very far to see a great deal, as we found out the other week when we walked to Dryburgh Abbey in the Scottish Borders – just a mile or so, but so much history.

Dryburgh Abbey

Dryburgh Abbey was officially closed – partly because of Covid but also because they are carrying out renovative work on the walls.

However, we were allowed free in the grounds and got very close to the abbey ruins. And it was well worth it. The ruins of the Premonstratensian abbey is one of the most delightful and peaceful places we’ve been to in Scotland.

In the ruins are buried Sir Walter Scott and Earl Haig, the controversial army leader of the Great War.

There were very few visitors on the morning we were there, and rather than park right outside the abbey we walked there. Just outside the village of St Boswell’s a long and descending narrow lane leads down to a footbridge over the River Tweed.

On the far bank is the Temple of the Muses – a monument built to the memory of the Scottish poet James Thomson.

As we were there in the Autumn, though there was little evidence of that in the tree colours, I give here some lines from his poem dedicated to that season:

Hence from the busy joy-resounding fields,

Of Autumn unconfined; and taste, revived,

The breath of orchard big with bending fruit.

Obedient to the breeze and beating ray,

From the deep-loaded bough a mellow shower

Incessant melts away. The juicy pear

Lies in a soft profusion scattered round.

A various sweetness swells the gentle race,

By Nature’s all-refining hand prepared,

Of tempered sun, and water, earth, and air,

In ever-changing compositions mixed.

Such, falling frequent through the chiller night,

The fragrant stores, the wide-projected heaps

Of apples, which the lusty-handed year

Innumerous o’er the blushing orchard shakes.

Temple of the Muses
The Four Seasons

The statues in the Temple of the Muses – representing the Four Seasons are a replacement for the original, sculpted in 2002 by Siobhan O’Hehir.

Bridge over the Tweed

Even leaving aside the abbey, this is a beautiful landscape with splendid views of the River Tweed.

River Tweed

Well worth that short stroll of only about a mile.

Eildon Hills from Dryburgh

And by the way – Dryburgh Abbey is supposedly haunted by a friendly ghost wearing iron boots called Fat Lips, who supposedly helps people with their tasks!

The Walk to Dryburgh

By John Bainbridge

Rambler, hillwalker, stravaiger and trespasser, access campaigner. Novelist writing historical and period crime fiction.


  1. I’d love to meet ‘Fat Lips’ – I could do with borrowing him at home! I thought that was ‘the Muses’ when I saw your first photo – I have a cameo broch of them. Loved the picture of the 2 monks fishing even though it’s obviously just for educational purposes.

    The stonework is amazing on that abbey – another one to add to the list if we get to the Borders soon

    Liked by 1 person

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