Holiday: Day 11: Scotland (2022) – Motoring to Melrose

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Day 11 – Sunday, 29th May

Welcome back loyal Reader!

As we said goodbye to Deborah & Steve and the rather excellent The Old Dairy in Gartocharn (with its FOUR EV Chargers πŸ‘) we’re now heading for ‘Leg 3’ – Melrose (pop. c2500) – the final part of our Scottish adventure for 2022.

Bye-bye Neighbours!

9.38am: What a shame to be leaving on such a gorgeous day 🌞🌞

Our accommodation is just over 100 miles away in Melrose at Burt’s Hotel in the Market Square. We’re staying there for three nights before we return home on Wednesday.

Melrose

As is usual, we can’t check-in until the afternoon (1pm onwards) so we plan to fill the time with a visit to a nearby attraction en-route – Floors Castle!

Floors Castle

12.03pm: We arrived here pretty much on time. The only ‘sticky’ part of the journey was the A720 (Edinburgh) City Bypass, where there was a short holdup due to the volume of traffic queuing at a major roundabout.

After parting with Β£17 each (over 60s get a discount) and taking the short drive following the ‘P’ sign, we noticed it was all a bit quiet here judging by the number of vehicles already in the car-park. In fact, there are TWO car-parks here and we chose the one nearest the Castle for convenience. Parking was, shall we say, a ‘random affair’ – no white lines to worry about, just park where there’s a space, but between the small rocks! (yes, really!) πŸ€”. After a quick in-car picnic (Mrs P’s speciality!), we were ready! πŸ‘πŸ‘. First thing we noticed was how much colder outside it was! OK, we’d had rain and wind in Gartocharn, but at least there, the sun came out eventually! Here it was a good 5 degrees cooler! Yep, ‘lilly-livered southerners’ us two!!! πŸ₯ΆπŸ₯Ά

Floors Castle

But first, before we dive in, time to remind ourselves of some of the Castle’s history.

It was in 1977 when the 10th Duke of Roxburghe opened the doors of Floors Castle to the public for the first time. To this day, with the 11th Duke in residence, it has been the home of the Innes-Ker family since it was built for the 1st Duke of Roxburghe back in 1721. Currently, this is the largest inhabited house in Scotland! And it certainly looks impressive from ALL angles.

12.45pm: We decided to wander around the Castle’s Walled Garden first…

No other word for it… ‘massive!’ with everything looking in rude health!

The walled Garden was very impressive – clearly some very talented and green-fingered staff work here!

1.10pm: Next stop, the Castle…

And that was the last photograph I took! πŸ˜•

If I had my brain engaged, I would have realised that being a private home, snapping the rooms and their contents would be a non-no! πŸ€”.

We must have spent around 45 minutes looking around the rooms. There was a fair amount to see – tapestries, paintings, porcelain and furniture – everything was immaculate and it all looked beautiful with some very knowledgeable Guides on hand to answer our questions! For us, just one downside: maybe it was the lack of visitors, but it did feel a little ‘cold’ and lacking atmosphere.

We finished out tour watching a short 10-minute video where the current Duke was explaining his vision for the Estate.

For the more adventurous, in addition to the Castle and the Walled Garden, there is also the Millennium Garden, The Star Plantation, the Woodland Walk, the Riverside Walk and a Cycle Trail! Damn, we forgot to pack cycle-clips πŸ˜•.

Next stop, Melrose…

Burts Hotel

2.33pm: Thirty minutes later, we arrived at our bed for the next three nights – Burts Hotel in Melrose. It sounds like a setting for a Poirot episode I know, but the only crime we planned – was to murder a cuppa! β˜•β˜•. Located within the bustling Market Square, this 18th-century family-run hotel is just a four-minute walk from the burial place of Robert the Bruce at Melrose Abbey.

Famous burial places aside, we’d picked it because of the reasonable price and the two electric car-chargers – Oh!, and a couple of AA rosettes every year, since 1995, for its food! πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹. We plugged in the car (for a very reasonable price of 30p/kWh – it’s a three-phase version too!) and checked-in. We were soon heading for – with two tea-bags in fear of their life! πŸ™‚

6.05pm: Time to check that the car was fully charged – it was! πŸ‘

6.15pm: Next, down to the Bistro/Bar for some nosebag!

The Bar was enjoying brisk trade. Pretty-much all of the seats were occupied with punters tucking into their food – luckily, we’d pre-booked and were given a table near the Bar (useful!). A Guinness for me, whilst Ann enjoyed a glass of Chilean White.

Service was swift too! πŸ‘ Ann ordered Whale (it was about the same size!) & Chips whilst I chose the homemade Burger with all the bits!

…and we finished by sharing (honest!) Plum Brulee with Blackcurrant Sorbet with Shortbread.

Tomorrow, the weather forecast looks familiar! It’s the return of the wet stuff! We’re staying fairly local and visiting nearby Abbotsford House (home of Sir Walter Scott) plus anything else that helps us dodge the showers.

See you Monday! πŸ‘πŸ˜‰

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