First we follow the river Esk up a remote valley filled with extraordinary people and places - one of Britain's best-known engineers, an ancient kings' grave, neolithic stone circles, and a most amazing monastery. We hear of covenanters and pedlars before dropping down to Ettrick to hear about Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd. As we return to Selkirk there are stories and songs concerning poets, reivers, covenanters, wizards - two fairy queens.
Trail length is 40 miles, driving time is approximately 1 ¼ hrs and the trail will take you a full day.
Please explore the trail map and plan your day by taking advantage of your Reivers Pass, free when you buy this trail.
For the best audio experience please download our free App to your Mobile/Tablet device enabling GPS activation and allowing you to relax, and just Drive and Discover.
Musical excerpts from "A Reivers Moon" By kind permission of Ian Landles and Alan Brydon
Drone footage by Above the Borders and Borders Aerial Photography
b 1730 - d Dec 18, 1813
Daughter of William O’Phaup Laidlaw and Bessie Laidlaw. Wife of Robert Hogg and mother of William Hogg; James Hogg, "Ettrick Shepherd"; David Hogg; Robert Wallace L Hogg and Mary Hogg. She was noted for collecting native Scottish ballads. Margaret was a cousin of Scotts Factor William Laidlaw and imparted much of her tales and stories to Sir Walter and was upset at what was lost in his translation. The following are Margaret's words to Sir Walter Scott, in reply to his question on whether certain stories had been previously printed. "Oo na, na Sir. There was never ane O' my sangs prentit till ye prentit them yousell, an' ye hae spoilt them a'thegither. They war made for singing, an' no for reading; but ye hae broken the charm now, an' they'll never be sung mair. An' the worst thing of a', they're nouther right spell'd nor right setten' doun!"
Michael Scott - Wizard
b. 1175 d 1232
Born in the Borders he was a scholar of philosophy, mathematics, and astrology. He also studied theology and become an ordained priest. A pioneer in the study of physiognomy. His manuscripts dealt with astrology, alchemy and the occult sciences hence the legend of him being a wizard. It was said that Scot foresaw that a small stone would strike him on the head and kill him, so he wore an iron skullcap to avoid his death. However, he removed the cap in church, only to be struck by a stone and die. Legend says he turned to stone a coven of witches, which have become the stone circle of Long Meg and Her Daughters. He is credited with teaching magic to the evil sorcerer William II de Soules and with conquering an indefatigable demon, after it had succeeded in splitting Eildon Hill into its three distinctive cones, by challenging it to weave ropes from sea-salt. He is buried in Melrose Abbey.
Will O Phaup Laidlaw
b 1691 – d 1755
Sheppard, runner and all-round wonderful fellow. Husband of Bessie and father to Margaret, Robert, William, Jamesand Agnes. He was one of the genuine Laidlaws of Craik.He was shepherd at Phaup for fifty-five year’s, but is probably more famously known as an undefeated runner. When Will was a young lad, only sixteen years of age, and the very first year he was in Phaup, his master betted the price of his whole drove of Phaup hogs on his head, at a race with an Englishman on Stagshawbank, and that was the start of his racing days. On his grave it is said ‘For feats of frolic, strength, and agility, he had no equal in his day’.
Jamie Telfer of the Fair Dod Head
Tennant farmer at the Dod Head, married to Maggie and father to 3 children. Following a dawn raid on his home by the Captain o Bewcastle and his men, where his cattle and livelihood were stolen, and his house ransacked. Jamie sets off on foot to his neighbours’ properties and they join together, a band of notorious Reivers, to help get his cattle back. Following a chase and a battle of swords and wit, Jamie’s story emanates the true way of life back when Reiving was a way of life.