Captivating Cademuir

We always like to share details of local walking trails with visitors and were very excited when Forest Enterprise Scotland recently upgraded a favourite route in Cademuir Forest – the smallest and one of the least visited parts of the Tweed Valley Forest Park.

Nestled on the eastern flanks of Cademuir Hill, close to the John Buchan Way, this delightful forest has a variety of trails that attract walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders alike. A mixed woodland full of Scot’s pine, larch, birch and many other species – including a rich under-storey of ground cover– it’s a wonderfully tranquil place to be. There are usually a few cars in the small car park, but often you won’t see a soul.

One of the most popular routes at Cademuir is the Pilots’ Trail, which climbs up from the car park before leading walkers on a circuit of some of the forest’s most atmospheric spots. Named after two downed German pilots who hid out in the woods here during the Second World War – they were only discovered when smoke from their fire gave them away – it recently saw a significant upgrade, with around 1,000m of old muddy trail replaced with a winding stone track.

On these cold, late-autumn mornings, we’d particularly recommend you walking the route nice and early. Once at the top of the trail, you might be in for a treat as temperature inversions hold the cloud in the valley below. Whichever way you look, the views are tremendous and give a real sense of space so close to the busy town of Peebles.

The trail is quite strenuous in places, so it’s probably best to allow two hours for the whole walk – all the better for enjoying the views, and sitting quietly to listen out for wildlife. Depending on season, there is plenty of bird life to enjoy – this is the haunt of woodpecker, warblers, siskins and owls – while it’s also not unusual to see roe deer here, with the animals often watching you long before you glimpse them.

So, next time you stay with us, why not include a trip to Cademuir in your plans? You won’t be disappointed!

Further info

Cademuir Forest is found on the south side of Peebles. For those who don’t mind a bit of a trek, it can be reached on foot from the Tontine Hotel. There’s also a small car park at the base of the trails. The rerouted and upgraded Pilots’ Trail (5.3km) takes walkers almost to the top of Cademuir Hill. Click here for much more on getting to the forest and the trails that can be enjoyed.

Photograph:  Kate Innes

Innerleithen Music Festival

If, like us, you are a fan of folk and traditional music, then you really must get along to the Innerleithen Music Festival later this month (18-20 August). Now in its 15th year, the festival has long showcased some of the finest musicians working in Scotland today alongside less well-known names from what is an incredibly vibrant music scene locally.   To book a room please BOOK online.

This year’s festival sees a slight change of emphasis with a greater focus on smaller-scale events and a wider variety of entertainment, including taster music sessions, musical theatre and dance, singing workshops and local walks.

It’s still very much about great music though with some real treats in store over the weekend. The headline gig on Saturday 19 Aug sees a brilliant night of entertainment with outstanding musicians from local music school Nomad Beat alongside professional young musicians, all of whom are graduates in traditional music from the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow. One of the biggest draws on the night will be Siobhan Miller, twice winner of the Scots Singer of the Year at the Trad Music Awards.

Look out too for the ever popular Live and Local sessions at Innerleithen’s Vale Club which start early and end late. Friday night (18 Aug) includes a performance by Jenny Biddle, a chart-topping indie folk/blues songsmith all the way from Melbourne. The Aussie singer – described as a kind of Tracy Chapman/Joni Mitchell/Ani Difranco love-child – is now based in Scotland and celebrating the imminent release of her sixth album, Wild & Free.

Meanwhile, Saturday night includes a much-anticipated appearance by The Dirty Beggars – a (mostly) local five-piece that is tearing up the bluegrass scene on both sides of the Atlantic. Touring widely, from Nashville to Glasgow, the band has performed together with such luminaries as Julie Fowlis, The Staves, Rura and many others.

Throw in more than 20 other acts and events, plus lively local crowds who love their music and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more buzzing weekend anywhere in the Borders this summer!

Further info

This year’s Innerleithen Music Festival runs from 18-20 August at venues around the town. For much more on the festival, including ticket sales, visit http://innerleithenmusicfestival.org

Photograph: Rachel Sermanni performing at the 2016 Innerleithen Music Festival. Photo: IMF

Summer events extravaganza!

It’s that time of year when it feels as if there is a major event taking place almost every day here in the Tweed Valley and adjoining Edinburgh. It’s certainly a perfect time to visit and enjoy the sheer variety of events, shows and festivals that take place in the area.

It’s not easy keeping track of them all, but we’ll try to give you a flavour of what’s coming up, from the biggest arts festival on the planet to country shows, traditional music, high-octane mountain bike action and more!

When it comes to festivals they don’t come much bigger than the stupendous Edinburgh Military Tattoo (4-26 Aug) and the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe (5-29 Aug). With both taking place just 20 or so miles up the road, we’d highly recommend staying with us here in Peebles and travelling into and out of Edinburgh each day by bus … it’s MUCH less expensive and considerably more relaxing!

But wonderful as they are, August is not just about the incredible Edinburgh festivals. There’s also a whole range of smaller but equally appealing events right here on our doorstep. Next month sees the great and good of the farming world descend on Nether Horsburgh for the always entertaining Peebles Agricultural Show (12 Aug), while some of Scotland’s finest traditional musicians play at the Innerleithen Music Festival a week later (more on that in a separate blog).

Look out too for top class mountain bike racing at the Whyte Scottish Open Champs Enduro (19-20 Aug) as riders from near and far look to be crowned King and Queen of the Hill. Elsewhere, stimulating mind rather than body, Beyond Borders International Festival of Literature and Thought at Traquair House (26-27 Aug) promises plenty of stirring debate as some of the world’s leading thinkers discuss pressing issues of the day.

And don’t forget this year’s Creative Peebles Festival (25 Aug-3 Sept) – a celebration of the many artists, musicians, poets, film-makers and craftspeople found in this small but incredibly creative town of ours. As well as indoor performances and workshops, there are also opportunities to explore the fascinating history, architecture, nature and landscape of Peebles and around through a series of talks, walks and tours.

It’s going to be quite a summer … we hope you can come and be a part of it!  To BOOK on our Summer Special Offer either call us on 01721 720892; send us an Email or Book Online

Photograph: Rich Rowe