The border between Scotland and its 'Auld Enemy' England has been the site of many battles; although the families who controlled this area fought as much amongst themselves: the Armstrongs, Johnstones, Scotts, Elliotts, Fenwicks, Bells, Nixons, Maxwells, Kerrs, Dodds, Taits, Howards, Cecils, Douglases, Homes (Hume), where cattle theft was the norm and earned them the nickname the Border Reivers, as they did with the English on the other side of the Border.
This turbulent area however, also produced great architecture in the shape of the Border abbeys of Melrose, Jedburgh, Dryburgh and Kelso. These were built to impress - well that is just asking for trouble - not surprisingly were constantly attacked.
Yet perhaps because of rather than inspite of the constant battles this is also the land of poets and Storytellers such as Thomas the Rymer, Burns, Scott, and James Hogg, "The Etterick Shepherd." These men wrote as much about the human condition as they did about the landscape. As such their work still resonates today and had a profound effect on Literature.
In such lawless times, townspeople would ride their boundaries, or 'marches', to protect their common lands and prevent encroachment by neighbouring landlords. Long after they ceased to be essential, the ridings in commemoration of local legend, history and tradition.
Today, each Borders town celebrates its history once a year during June - August with magnificent rideouts involving hundreds of horses, ridden with a passion worthy of the reivers old. It is in the Borders that you will see the best examples of the Scottish character, perhaps because nothing could be taken for granted, tradition is still an important facet.
But don't ask why in Hawick, where they will simply tell you, " It's aye been!"