Fishing ‘n’ Shooting

Within 20 minutes of the Teviot, 30 minutes of the Upper Ettrick and 45 minutes of both the Border Esk and many of the most famous beats on the Tweed, Colislinn is perfectly positioned for some of the best salmon and seat trout fishing to be found anywhere.  Note, the salmon fishing closer to Colislinn is all late season, so if you’re looking to catch a ‘springer’ or anything before the Autumn you’d be best off heading further downstream towards Kelso.

The most useful source of information about fishing is Fishpal, As well as giving details of historical and recent catches (updated daily in high season), fishing can also be booked through the website.

One of the most respected casting teachers around, Eoin Fairgreave (also a terrific guy with a great store of fishing anecdotes) runs a spey casting school in the grounds of the classy Roxburgh Hotel for beginners, or for more experienced fisherfolk looking to tighten up their spey loops  Eoin gets very booked up during peak season so if you’re looking for a lesson any time in the Autumn best to book ahead.

The Roxburgh also has a championship standard golf course and clay pigeon shooting – though for clays we tend to go to the excellent Braidwood, about 25 minutes away (beginners welcome, guns and tuition provided if needed, a huge range of traps to choose from, and a great way to entertain teenage lads for a few hours)

There are many lochs in the area with brown and/or rainbow trout.  Most of the publicly accessible ones are run by the Hawick Angling Club.  Within 15 minutes of Colislinn are both Acreknowe and Barnes lochs. The latter is in a spectacular location up in the hills near the site of the old Stobs Army Camp – best not to drive too close unless you’re in a 4×4, and best not to bring dogs during lambing season.  Permits can usually be obtained either through the Club, which is located in the Sandbed area of Hawick (this side of town for Colislinn), or in Libby’s Pet Shop in the High Street, which also stocks a small range of fishing tackle.  Other contact details for the Hawick Angling Club: 01450 378907, or 07988 900602, or  The Club also owns some association water on the Teviot.

Sadly, because of the acidity of the water and the huge spates, both caused by the Wauchope commercial forest that was planted several decades ago, the Slitrig Water (a tributary of the Teviot, itself the major tributary of the Tweed) that runs through Colislinn now holds very few fish.  We do see an occasional brownie and in late autumn some very tired salmon come up to spawn, which tend to shoal near the bridge.  We’d ask you, please, to leave both alone.  However a lot of fun – under adult supervision – can be had by youngsters with nets and jars collecting various forms of fry and bugs. And if they catch something bigger … we’ll have been pleased to have played a part in introducing them to one of the greatest sports in the world!

Finally, if you find yourself short of fishing tackle the best shops in the area to buy kit are in charming Kelso. The brilliant John Norris in Penrith,, are also old hands at mailing stuff out speedily to anxious fishermen short of a rod tip or with a leak in their waders.

Historic Houses and Castles

Essential visiting locations

IT never ceases to amaze me how many grand houses, keeps, towers and castles are dotted around the Borders.  It must be something to do with the fertile soil.

Some of them are gorgeous, all pomp and circumstance; others are forbidding brutes built of rough stone;  ruins open to the elements.

Two spectacular castles in this latter category are Hermitage Castle near Newcastleton and to a lesser extent Neidpath Castle near Peebles  in that it has been modernised to the extent that it now boasts electricity.  It has some beautiful batik wall hangings made by an Italian artist whose name escapes me right now..

Of the gorgeous ones, Floors Castle near Kelso is a popular destination.  This high Victorian extravaganza with views over the Tweed has extensive gardens with tearoom and plant nursery.  Kelso is also a charming Borders town.  One of my favourites though is Abbotsford near Selkirk.  Home of Sir Walter Scott and until recently run by two very elderly ladies, direct descendants of his, It has now been turned into a trust and has all the amenities one would expect of a top-notch destination such as this.

Another one of our favourites is Mellerstain House near Gordon, an exquisite stately home designed by Robert Adam in the early 18thCentury.  Here too, all the mod cons that make for a wonderful day out, are provided.  Finally, Traquair House near Innerleithen, the oldest inhabited castle in Scotland, dating back to 1017.  Mary Queen of Scots stayed her with her infant son (later King James VI) and there is a spectacular four poster to prove it.  It contains everything you would find exciting in a house of that age, including a priest’s room.  And if that weren’t enough, they also run a wonderfully eccentric bi-annual fair there.  Next one will be Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th of August 2013.  Well worth the wait!

Here is a list of others we haven’t visited ourselves, but by all accounts are popular destinations:

Ferniehurst Castle near Jedburgh
Mary Queen Of Scots House in Jedburgh
Smailholm Tower near Kelso
Thirlestane Castle near Lauder
Paxton House near Berwick-upon-Tweed
Crighton Castle near Pathhead
Aikwood Tower near Selkirk
Bowhill House & Country Park near Selkirk
Old Gala House and Scott Gallery in Galashiels


local clubs and courses

The field immediately south of the house (please pick up balls and only if there is no stock)

Driving range near Selkirk

Clubs locally – Lillisleaf, Hawick (the Vertish), Minto, The Roxburgh