Who said what about The Scottish Borders,
the wild Scottish-English Frontier


The English-Scottish frontier is and was the dividing line between two of the most energetic, aggressive, talented and altogether formidable nations in human history. Any number of factors, including geography, race, movement, and the Romans decided where the line should be, and once it was there, on the map, on the countryside, and in men's minds, the stage was set.
.....The Steel Bonnets, © George MacDonald Fraser, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1972 ISBN: 0-394-47049-4

{The Borders]...Historically and metaphorically it lies on the borders between authentic, written records and legend, in a shadowy realm where anything may have happened..
.....PORTRAIT OF THE SCOTT COUNTRY, © Marion Lochhead, Robert Hale publishers, London, 1968 ISBN 0709139578


The very names make poetry. The rivers run pleasantly in sound: Tweed and Till, Teviot and Yarrow, Gala and Eden, Ale and Manor Water, Leader and Ettrick. Town and place-names match them: Abbotsford and Huntly Burn, Chiefswood and Darnick, Traquair, Fairnilee, Yair; Melrose, most mellifluos of town-names, Jedburgh or Jeddart or Jedworth, Kelso, Selkirk; and the hills ring out like a peal of music: Eildon, Dunion, Muirfoot, Rubislaw.
....PORTRAIT OF THE SCOTT COUNTRY, © Marion Lochhead, Robert Hale publishers, London, 1968 ISBN 0709139578

... one can conjure up sinister pictures from the names of the Border hill country--Foulbogskye, Ninestanerig, Muckle Snab, Bloody Bush, Slitrig, Flodden, Blackcleuch, Wolf Rig, Hungry Hill, Crib Law, Foulplay Know, Oh Me Edge, Blackhaggs, and so on; it is obviously not a palm-fringed playground.
.....The Steel Bonnets, © George MacDonald Fraser, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1972 ISBN: 0-394-47049-4



Liddesdale...the cockpit of the Border and the home of its most predatory clans...to get the full flavour, it should be visited in autumn or winter, when its stark bleakness is most apparent. It is empty, drear and hard; there are never many cars on the road, which winds up to Newcastleton and then turns westward into a little glen that manages to tell the traveller more about the dark side of border history in a glance that he can learn by traversing all the rest of the Marches.
.....The Steel Bonnets, © George MacDonald Fraser, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1972 ISBN: 0-394-47049-4


...and whoever gained in the end, the Border country suffered fearfully in the process. It was the ring in which the champions met; armies marches and counter-marched and fought and fled across it; it was wasted and burned and despoiled, its people harried and robbed and slaughtered, on both sides, by both sides...they lived on a battlefield that stretched from the Solway to the North Sea.
.....The Steel Bonnets, © George MacDonald Fraser, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1972ISBN: 0-394-47049-4


The inhabitants, living in a state partly pastoral and partly warlike, and combining habits of constant depredation with the influence of a rude spirit of chivalry, were often engaged in scenes highly susceptive of poetic ornament.
.....©Sir Walter Scott, Introduction to The Lay of the Last Minstrel

Galashiels: "...a pretty place it once has been, but a manufactory is established there; and a townish bustle and ugly stone houses are fast taking the place of the brown- roofed thatched cottages of which a great number still remain, partly overshadowed by trees."
.....William Wordsworth


There are Standing Stones on Hownam Steeple, known as the Shearers and the Bandsters which, according to Sir George Douglas, may have begun a local legend of judgement upon Sabbath-workers and Sabbath breakers.
.....PORTRAIT OF THE SCOTT COUNTRY, © Marion Lochhead, Robert Hale publishers, London, 1968 ISBN 0709139578



...the Borderers...are not, to put it tactfully as possible, the most immediately lovable folk in the United Kingdom. Incomers may find them difficult to know; there is a tendency among them to be suspicious and taciturn, and the harsh border voice, whether the accent is Scots or English, lends itself readily to derision and complaint.
On the credit side, there is a Border virtue which in the human scale should outweigh all the rest, and it is simply the ability to endure, unchanging. Perhaps the highest compliment that one can pay to the people of the Anglo-Scottish frontier is to remark that, in spite of everything, they are still here.
....The Steel Bonnets, © George MacDonald Fraser, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1972ISBN: 0-394-47049-4