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Revealing Ruberslaw

Our incredible location on the southern slopes of Ruberslaw, means that we enjoy some of the finest views in whole of the Borders and from one of the most iconic landmarks in the South of Scotland.

Living here, it can be easy to take this special location for granted, so we thought we would delve a little deeper to share some of its fascinating facts, history and photographs of Ruberslaw with you.

The Scottish romantic poet Dr John Leyden (1775-1811), who was born in Denholm, described going up Ruberslaw in his poem Scenes of Infancy (1803).

Oft have I wandered, in my vernal years,

Where Ruberslaw his misty summit rears,

And, as the fleecy surges closed amain,

To gain the top have traced that shelving lane,

Where every shallow stripe of level green,

That, winding, runs the shattered crags between

Ruberslaw is a prominent, conical hill which stands on the south bank of the River Teviot, between the towns of Hawick and Jedburgh and south of the village of Denholm. The hill is on the border between the historic parishes of Cavers and Hobkirk and forms a conspicuous landmark from much of Teviotdale.

Situated in splendid isolation, this prominent landmark reaches a height of 424m (1391 feet). There is an Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar at its summit, which offers fine views in all directions.

The summit rocks represent the remains of a volcanic vent, formed by a volcanic eruption during the Carboniferous Period, roughly 330 million years ago. The summit ridge is surrounded by cliffs 40 to 50 feet high except to the north-east. Two lower rock ridges lie beside it, separated from the summit ridge by large gullies. A plateau stretches round the south and east sides of the summit, and 50 feet lower a natural terrace passes round the hill.

On and around the summit are the remains of several historical structures: an Iron Age hill fort, a Roman signal station, and a "nuclear fort" of the Early Middle Ages.

A number of routes to the rocky summit of the hill are possible for walkers, from which there is a wide view in all directions. From the Cheviot Hills to the south and east, the Eildon Hills to the north with the Lammermuir Hills in the distance, Hawick to the west with the hills of Liddesdale and Selkirkshire beyond it.

Did you know that Ruberslaw has been classified as a Marilyn? This term simply defines as a hill within Great Britain or Ireland with a prominence of 150 metres or more regardless of height. Alan Dawson first defined Marilyns in his book ‘The Relative Hills of Britain’. The author contrasts Marilyns with previously defined hill lists such as the Munros, which are based on the assumption that hills on a list must be a certain height above sea level with a subjective assessment of different peaks by the list originator. Alan has said that Marilyns are an intentional pun reference to Munros based on the film star, 'Marilyn Monroe', although he doesn't expand on this in the book as to why!

In the 17th Century Alexander Peden may have preached to a conventicle of Covenanters from a chasm in the cliffs on Ruberslaw which is known as “Peden's Pulpit”. The Covenanters were those who vigorously sought to maintain the Kirk's Presbyterian polity. Ministers ejected from the Kirk, like Peden, preached to illegal conventicles of their followers in the open air between 1660 and 1688. To this day there is a service held every Easter on the top of Ruberslaw thus keeping the tradition of Alexander Peden.

Ruberslaw is a conical hill, elongated in a north-south direction. While it stands in relative isolation, it is linked to Peel Fell by a ridge of high ground, and so forms a northern projection of the Cheviot Hills which straddle the Anglo-Scottish border.

A Roman signal station on the hilltop may be inferred from the presence of many Roman dressed sandstone blocks on the hill, many decorated with a diamond pattern. These leave no doubt that a Roman building once stood on the hilltop, and in that position this could only have been a signal station. A workman digging field drains on the south-east side of the hill in 1863, 400 feet below the summit, discovered a hoard of bronze vessels of Roman age. These are now held in Hawick Museum.

Ruberslaw is one of the most iconic landmarks in the region and the views from the rocky summit are unmissable. And when you visit, be sure to impress your companion with some of these fascinating facts!

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