Scottish Lowlands Road Trip: Pt 6 – Road to Biggar

After leaving Peebles, we began our journey towards the town of Biggar in South Lanarkshire, via a few interesting landmarks along our route.

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Neidpath Castle

Just outside of Peebles, as you head towards the town of Biggar, the imposing structure of Neidpath Castle stands on the side of a hill overlooking the river Tweed which flows through the valley below and into Peebles.

The original castle on the site was built in the 1260’s by Sir Simon Fraser (1246 – 1306, fought in the Wars of Scottish Independence). By the 14th century the lands had passed into the ownership of Hay Family, when the Fraser Heiress married into their family. The surviving Castle was built in the 14th century by Sir William de Hay, and was owned by the Hay Family until the 17th century, when the grandson of Sir William married the heiress of Sir Hugh Gifford of Yester and they took control of Yester Castle which became their primary residence.

Some notable visitors of the Castle include Mary Queen of Scots (in 1563) and her son James VI (in 1587). The Castle is current a ruin, as it was attacked during Oliver Cromwell’s invasion of Scotland in 1650, and the tower from the 13th century was demolished. Remodelling was carried out in the 1660’s, and the Castle passed through various hands from William Douglas, 1st Earl of March, to his son, William 2nd Earl of March, to the 3rd Earl, who began letting the property.

By 1790 the Castle was crumbling, and today it is owned by the Earl of Wemyss, and it is closed to visitors, so I got a picture looking from the road.  The main building that survives is the L-plan tower, and some of the defensive walls.

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River Tweed

Below the Castle, the River Tweed winds its way through the area, and it is quite an impressive sight with steep hills on either side, it’s a great place to have a residence, and what a view to wake up to every morning.

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Neidpath Viaduct

Just a few metres further down the river, is the impressive Neidpath Viaduct, built between 1863 and 1864. It was built to carry the Biggar section of the Caledonian Railway through to Peebles. In the 1950’s it was closed to passenger traffic and the lines removed. Today it is a footpath over the Tweed.

The bridge itself consists of 8 arches, with 4 piers in the water. It is a popular local route and hopefully we can go back sometime soon to enjoy the route over it.

From here it was time to get to Biggar, as we had Biggar and Lanark to explore before it went dark…

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