ambling or action - something for everyone
The local area around Aikwood Tower offers some of the finest walking, cycling, shooting, fishing and horse riding in Scotland, among many other leisure activities. No matter your age or adventure criteria, or whether it’s by foot, pedal or horseback you’ll be out and about, soaking up the fresh air and exploring this breathtaking part of the world.
The Scottish Borders have some of the most varied and breathtaking countryside in Scotland making it ideal for walking holidays. The many ranges of quiet moorlands, ancient woodlands and rolling hills such as the Eildons, Cheviots and the Pentlands, offer a wide choice of walking routes and distances.
Whether you’re looking for a short three mile walk from our front door to the local village pub – The Cross Keys in Ettrickbridge, or to challenge yourself on some of the more well known walking trails such as the Southern Upland Way, the John Buchan Way or the Borders Abbeys Way, we have lots of walking books and maps on hand to help you plan your routes.
There is an amazing natural velodrome for cycle lovers of all types and abilities on our doorstep. With an abundance of hills, woodland areas, quiet country roads and a growing number of cycle paths linking towns, the Scottish Borders has some of the best cycling routes in Scotland. The Ettrick and Yarrow Valleys offer everything from challenging terrain and long road races, to shorter, more leisurely circular routes and are becoming increasingly popular for road cyclists.
For the more extreme and thrill-seeking cyclists, just thirty minutes away is the mountain biking Mecca of Glentress Forest, the UK's leading mountain biking centre, with its wide variety of trails and challenging downhill runs.
It doesn’t get more medieval Scotland than trying your hand at the ancient country sports of falconry and archery inside Aikwood Tower’s walled garden. Or pay a visit to our local shooting ground, Scotland’s largest clay pigeon shooting venue, and test yourself on an array of simulated game drives, one of the fastest growing sports in the country.
If you (or the children!) ever tire of playing Princesses, Dungeons and Dragons or being the King of the Castle, then the surrounding Ettrick and Yarrow, Tweed and Ale Water Valleys are packed full of attractions and activities that are sure to keep every family member entertained during your stay - there are the east coast beaches, country parks, adventure playgrounds, alpaca walks, Go-Ape and our current favourite Grass Sledging.
The River Tweed, which flows by the foot of Aikwood Tower’s driveway, is internationally famous for its salmon fishing, with people coming from all over the world to fish it. While it ranks as one of the very top salmon rivers in the world, it and its tributaries (Ettrick Water and Yarrow Water) and lochs also offer some of the most varied trout fishing in Scotland almost all year long.
Horse riding is one of the most traditional, popular and enjoyable sports in the Scottish Borders. From the traditional Common Riding festivals that run throughout the summer months to lead rein pony rides for children at one of the local riding centres, there are a number of ways in which you can enjoy our magnificent riding country.
For more competent riders, the Buccleuch Country Ride is the first long distance trail of its kind in Scotland, a fifty-seven-mile countryside hack through the stunning Cheviot and Lammermuir hills.
A PLACE FOR HISTORY
The Scottish Borders has some of the richest and most dramatic history in the whole of Scotland. Discover turbulent tales of the Border Reviers, journey through the ancient hunting grounds and houses of Scottish royalty, immerse yourself in the literature of Walter Scott and James Hogg and trace your own family connections to the area. Or just soak up the fantastic history of Aikwood Tower – the 500-year-old walls have many stories to tell!