If you enjoy history and exploring times gone by you will love the Borders.
The borderlands of Northumberland and the south of Scotland were fiercely fought over as the crossed swords marking local battlefields on maps of the region will show.
From the earliest times, when Agricola marched his Roman legions north from York around AD71 to Scotland, known to them as Caledonia, the borderlands have been no stranger to turbulent times.
Once part of the powerful Kingdom of Northumbria the line that separates England and Scotland first appeared in 1237, a formal border agreed between Henry III and Scotland’s Alexander II.
Troubled relations between the two kingdoms were not finally laid to rest almost 500 years later when Bonnie Prince Charlie’s ill-fated uprising in 1745 ended at Culloden.
Before that the two sides clashed on countless bloody occasions including Otterburn (1388), Flodden (1513) and Ancrum Moor (1545).
During the Wars of Independence the region was key to the aspirations of William Wallace and later Robert the Bruce, witnessing armies marching north – and armies readying to march south.
Interwoven with the high politics of warfare was the reign of the Border Reivers who had their own distinctive way of dealing with any local difficulties, north and south of the border, and held sway for over 300 years.
Infamously, they even contributed to the English language, giving us the words blackmail and bereavement!
The famous abbeys of the Scottish Borders at Jedburgh, Dryburgh, Melrose and Kelso suffered irreversible damage at the hands of Henry VIII’s rampaging soldiers in the 1540’s – the result of a right royal Tudor tantrum.
It was a time that became known as the ‘rough wooing’ and a result of the Scots refusal to ratify the betrothal of the infant Mary Queen of Scots to Henry’s son Edward, then at the tender age of seven.
Turbulent times have, not surprisingly left a legacy of castles and fortified towers (top, magnificent Bamburgh Castle and above Fatlips Castle) all with their own story to tell.
Explore the Borders turns the clock back and revisits the history of the northern borderlands.