4th Oct 2016
Scott loved autumn at Abbotsford, and taking a walk around the woodlands of the estate and along the banks of the Tweed, it’s easy to see why. Before the leaves slowly start falling one by one, the colourful woodlands almost light up the River Tweed. Passing through the Tweed Valley, the summits of the Ettrick and Eildon Hills – perhaps some the best-known landmarks of the region – are embedded among flickers of fiery shades. This is often thought to be one of the best times to visit Scotland. Edinburgh is quieter and yet all the attractions are still buzzing. At the same time, this means that the countryside is bursting into a different kind of life from the city’s hustle and bustle.
Though tourists slowly depart from the Borders, and at first only locals remain, those few who can boast inside knowledge of Scotland’s hidden gems arrive: With much of its countryside covered in trees and woodlands, the gentle slopes of the region offer pleasant walks, allowing visitors to fully take in the changing colours among its ruined cathedrals and quaint towns. Game is readily available, as the hunting season takes off. With the Borders slowly turning into a foodie’s paradise, one is spoilt for choice, even if they might prefer the deer, pheasants and hares to roam the fields instead of the plate.
When the air is cooler and the shadows get longer, Abbotsford is bathed in golden light every evening, complimented by the autumnal colours ablaze all around it. One can watch as the evening sky is taken over by magnificent glows, almost imitating the range of reds and yellows of the leaves before they slowly darken and the sun finally slips away. As dusk sets in earlier every day during this time of year, we look to our friends and families to keep us company. Looking back upon a year of pleasant company, why not take a moment to reminisce of the goings on at Abbotsford.
‘Autumn departs – but still his mantle’s fold Rests…
Beneath a shroud of russet droop’d with gold,
Tweed and his tributaries mingle still;
Hoarser the wind, and deeper sounds the rill…
And yet some tints of summer splendour tell
When the broad sun sinks down on Ettrick’s western fell.’
(Canto First, Lord of the Isles)
Quite often, it feels like life at Abbotsford goes at a slower pace. Once you set foot on the estate. , you can immerse yourself in tranquillity that it almost feels rude to occupy yourself with anything else for fear of missing out on the charms of the place. Imagine Scott in his study, working away, inspired by what is around him, perhaps even by the walk he took earlier along the very places he describes. The Tweed’s banks just a stone’s throw away, slowly flowing by, its ripples disappearing slowly as you listen from your bedroom only getting up to watch the sunrise above to woodlands outside your window. Early enough yet, to still have the house and gardens to yourself or to discover the thriving wildlife within the woodlands of the estate.
The autumn sun hits the stained glass windows in the entrance hall
Particular personal highlights of visitors staying at Abbotsford are manifold, yet autumn certainly offers some truly special stories: Just last year, I myself welcomed a party of American guests who went fishing with a local guide and brought back trout for breakfast the next morning. Shortly after, another group of enthusiastic fishermen was similarly lucky, catching fish every day of their stay. While fishing might not be for everyone, it is the perfect time of the year for it as well as many more activities, whether one delights in one of Sir Walter’s favourite activities with walking, or perhaps in riding, golfing and mountain biking. Still, after long days of experiencing nature, all of our visitors greatly appreciated returning to their home away from home, enjoying the luxury and calm of the Hope Scott Wing.
Who could disagree, sitting by a roaring log fire by late afternoon promises the perfect backdrop for everything form intimate family gatherings to house parties. Indeed, quite a special ‘sentimental journey’ occurred in November last year with a 50th Wedding Anniversary. For the celebration, the bride and groom welcomed all the couples who had stayed with them on the night of their wedding – all those years ago. Accompanied by one of Abbotsford’s truly special and accomplished friends, Barclay Scott, who played a few of the ‘jazz standards’ for them, the night (and years) swept by…
If you’re now thinking about taking the chance to fully immerse yourself in Scotland’s autumn palette, join us for the low season. Come and wrap up in autumn luxury here at Abbotsford, and we’ll offer you a fantastic 15% discount on all stays between now and December – perhaps afterwards, you’ll have your own story to tell about how the Borders lit up your autumn in 2016.
We'd love to hear from you!
House Manager for the Hope Scott Wing