The Melrose Sevens rugby competition has been running since 1883. Our friends in Inverness were coming down for it and had a spare ticket so James joined them for most of the matches on the Saturday running up to the final. I spent the time wandering around the town which lies on the River Tweed at the foot of the Eildon Hills. I had not visited it since 2016.
The Sevens are a big event for the town and a pipe band were playing in the High Street.
I had an appointment to visit Melrose Abbey at 2pm. The guy at the entrance said that he had seen a number of ‘rugby widows’ on that day.
It is not possible to go inside the building at present because there is a huge backlog of surveys and repairs to damage underway in many historic buildings. The abbey was founded around 1136 by the Cistercian Order and originally had fairly simple architecture. The original church was destroyed by the English army in 1385 leaving only one wall remaining. The large nave was built around 1400 and is in a grander and more ornate style.
In the grounds is a museum which has many relics from the abbey and a list of all the abbots.
There were also relics some from Newstead which was known as Trimontium in Roman times relating to its position at the foot of three Eildon Hills. There is a museum devoted to this in town but like many businesses was closed for the Sevens. My next stop was Harmony Garden.
The house was built in 1907 and gifted to the National Trust for Scotland in 1996. It has a kitchen garden and glasshouse
and in summer the fruit and vegetables grown are sold from a trolley at the main gate. I enjoyed the flowers and some of last years seeds still hanging from trees and shrubs.
I then had a river walk along the banks of the Tweed, crossing the chain bridge.
Some of the riverside walks and the bridge are part of the Southern Upland Way.
Eventually it was time to meet up with my friend, have something to eat and to return home in the evening.