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Gilnockie Tower Reivers Centre – Home to the Clan Armstrong

‘On the border was the Armstrongs – able men, somewhat unruly, and very ill tae tame!’

Gilnockie Tower (or Hollows Tower) is one of the finest examples of a Scottish 16th century Scots tower house or pele tower.

Clan Armstrong stronghold and home to a Scottish legend, Gilnockie  Tower stands in what were known as the Debateable Lands – so-called because no-one knew if they belonged to Scotland, or England.

Of all the unruly men who occupied these lands, the Armstrongs were the most notorious. They had a reputation as the most lawless clan on the border. It is believed they did more damage on their forays to England than any two Scottish families combined.

It was here, in this commanding site on the banks of the River Esk, that a powerful member of the Armstrong family made his home, in a place known as the ‘Holehouse’. Also known as Hollows, the tower is shown on maps dating from the late 1500s and  is now known as Gilnockie Tower.

Johnnie of Gilnockie was a Border Reiver, one of the many riders and raiders whose name struck terror into those living on the English/Scottish divide in the sixteenth century. Rich and feared, he ran a protection racket right across the Borderland. Today he might draw comparison with the mafia…

Johnnie Armstrong Cafe

The Johnnie Armstrong Cafe 

Serving Tea and Coffee

Cake and Biscuits

Soft Drinks

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A Clan Armstrong Stronghold

Gilnockie Tower, a Clan Armstrong stronghold. Home to a Borderland legend.

Gilnockie stands in what were known as the Debateable Lands; so-called because no-one knew who they belonged to. Was it England, or was it Scotland?

A Truly Historic Location

Gilnockie Tower has five floors connected by a spiral staircase, including the vaulted chamber, banqueting hall and bedchamber.

The stone at the threshold of the building could be two thousand years old. Once a roofless ruin, the place has been completely refurbished and is open all year round as a clan and visitor attraction.

The Clan Armstrong Centre houses reiving artefacts and the world’s largest collection of Armstrong archives.