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Posted:  Friday 16 June 2017

North East Associates
visit Bowhill House

- Tuesday 13th June –

Turn the clock back five years, all but a couple of months, to when we visited Drumlanrig Castle to the north of Dumfries.

The ancestral home of the Dukes of Buccleuch, here we learnt of the family history and had the opportunity to view many works of art on display there.
As a reminder, the lineage includes the Douglas, Scott and Montagu families, going back to 1116 and with mention of Mary Queen of Scots.

Forward to the present, we took a trip to visit the ‘other’ home of the current duke, the tenth, at Bowhill House near Selkirk.  This is in Scottish Border Country and a little closer to home than Drumlanrig.  Just as impressive, though.

So, north-west we headed from Newcastle through our favourite county to cross into Scotland at Carter Bar, having climbed to 1371 ft.  It was ‘downhill’ from here.
Reassuring to see, on our way to the top of the divide, that Catcleugh Reservoir was full!

On a ‘closed’ day the house was ours, with enthusiastic guides taking small groups of us through the ‘reception’ rooms and describing only some of the many artefacts.

One wonders, too, if the many thousands of books in the libraries have actually been read by all generations!

Here too there’s not much wall visible in the rooms.  Portraits hang everywhere, showing family members across the centuries and with them about the same number of paintings, and most by famous artists.
Trying to think back to 2012 and mentally combine the items displayed in the two houses was impossible due to the large number on display.

Also on view are pieces of fine furniture, silverware and porcelain collected by the family over many, many years.

Bowhill was built as a house, dating from 1812, with chimney stacks and pots
- 150 of them - dominating the roof line rather than the battlements of a castle.

Gathered together again after our tours we were to enjoy a buffet lunch with a Scottish element – the ‘Haggis & Pork Wellington’ disappearing very quickly.

Then some time to enjoy the parkland-style garden and perhaps take a walk, a figure-eight trail around two small lochs being the favourite.
In the area of sloping lawn in front of the house a flock of marauding auto-mowers
- battery powered - meant we had to stay vigilant!

Many, though, didn’t stray far from the comfort of the courtyard, nicely sheltered and warm.

All good things must come to an end, and soon it was time to head for home, tackling Carter Bar again.

To be fair to our host country it was all ‘downhill’ on our side of the border too!


pictures:  r-mh, ph

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