Silent Sunday…… So off to Church


Melrose Abbey

Melrose Abbey, or to give it its Sunday name “Saint Marys Abbey” can be found in one of the most idyllic settings of any Abbey.  Above the banks of the River Tweed and in the shadow of the Eildon Hills the Cistercian Monks who founded the Abbey in 1136 chose the location well.  Built under the instruction of King David I of Scotland it became an important religious and civic centre for many centuries.

Like so many others, Melrose Abbey did see much conflict. Being in the heart of the Scottish Border country (in Roxburghshire) it did not, perhaps could not, escape involvement in the constant Scottish/England  power struggles…but perhaps it was Oliver Cromwell assault during the Civil Wars of the 16th Century that brought an end to monastic life at Melrose.

No visitor to the Scottish Borders should miss the opportunity to visit Melrose, whilst the town itself has much to enjoy, it is the peaceful location of the Abbey that demands a pause to reflect and enjoy.

5th November

(C) David Oakes 2017



WORDLESS WEDNESDAY – Another Favourite Place


Location:- Morning Mist over the River Tweed at Melrose in the Scottish Border Region

22nd October
(C) David Oakes 2014

Building Bridges……

It is fun trying to second guess editors when they come on the phone with their latest’s picture request.  “ I need some bridges….but they are special ones ”…..   O.K. well lets see if we can help, what bridges in specific are you after? 

Usually you get a feel for the theme they are following and yes, after the first two I thought I knew…..

Telfords Suspension Bridge at Conwy. North Wales

WALES And the next is The Chain Bridge at Melrose, Scotland


Well it was easy to see a possible theme connecting the two bridges.  Conwy was built by the Victorian engineer Thomas Telford and was constructed to provide a roadway crossing over the River Conwy.  Not sure that conservationist would have approved of such a scheme to-day as its construction demanded alterations to the historic Conway Castle.  Its Chain link suspension one of Telfords trademark styles.

The Chain Bridge over the River Tweed at Melrose is also a suspension bridge, engineers of lesser name but equal skill were engaged.  This bridge provided a vital link to the town but not as a road bridge.  Restrictions as to load and what could be carried over the bridge were stipulated.

Conwy Suspension Bridge was completed and opened in 1826.  Melrose Chain Bridge was constructed in the early 1820’s but the ‘official’ opening was surprisingly also 1826.

So far you could see that the Editor was following what seemed a logical connection. But then the third request was a little different.

The Sail Bridge, Swansea SA1, South Wales


A much more modern bridge, Sail Bridge crosses the River Tawe at Swansea.  Opened in 2003, it is intended to link the much refurbished Swansea Harbour area with its designer shops and flats on one side to SA1, an area of old industrial Swansea now subject to major commercial, retail and residential redevelopment.

But again you an see a possible suspension link and maybe a link from the 1800’s to the 2000’s….but then came the forth request

The Auld Brig o’Doon, Alloway, Scotland


Now this is very much different from the previous three.  First of all it is a Medieval stone bridge,  secondly it is not dissimilar to many other Scottish bridges and finally its claim to fame is purely mythical.  But  it is a big claim to fame in Scottish Literature.  Auld Brig o’ (old bridge over the) Doon became famous for its mention in Robert Burns’s story and verse Tom o’Shanter. It was over this bridge across the River Doon that Tom o’Shanter supposedly made his escape on horseback whilst being chased by Nannie Witch.

But the bridge is also said to have been the inspiration for Lerner and Loewe’s equally mythical musical BRIGADOON.

I will just have to wait and see what the editor had in mind, if indeed there is a link…but it does make fun guessing