The Border Reiver Trail

A Land of Riders, Raiders, Intrigue and Danger…

The Border Reivers

Please click here to view our interactive Reiver Trail map.

The Border families can be referred to as clans . Click here for local Clan information.

Gilknockie Tower - Hollows Tower

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A Land of Riders

Raiding, or ‘riding’ as it was commonly known, was carried out by reivers who rode fast hardy little horses called “hobbies” or nags. They were some of the most admired horses and light horsemen in Europe.

They were notorious raiders, picking their way skilfully  through the boggy Tarras Moss lands.

Reivers dressed in a woven wool plaid in the early days of reiving. This was in later years replaced by ‘light’ armour such as a quilted jack of plate, and helmets of steel, hence the nickname the “steel bonnets”.

A Land of Intrigue

What remains to remind us of the rebellious and lawless 16th century border between Scotland and England represents a unique historical record. Towers, castles, memorials, trails and above all the names of the people themselves.

The history of the Anglo-Scottish Borderland is not simply about historical facts but the nature of the landscape itself;  the multi¬coloured hillsides, changing with the seasons; the deep, hidden valleys and dusty roadways where violent and deceitful, as well as romantic activities took place ‘lang syne’.

No longer dark and forbidding, the visitor can still discover the legends of the reivers while journeying through this unique land of ours!

A Land of Raiders

Reivers, often recognised as the finest light cavalry in Europe, raided both sides of the Anglo-Scottish Border during the 16th century.

They were opportunists, and would take what they could, where they could, owing loyalty to their family first and foremost.

Their riding activities were usually carried out within one day’s ride of their own home, but records indicate they also travelled much further on occasions.

A Land of Ancestry

Are you an Armstrong, an Elliot, a Little or a descendant of any other border family? Visit the Anglo-Scottish Borderland to discover more about your ancestry.

Did your forbears reive throughout this land in order to survive during the dangerous days of long ago?

Touch the earth, see the grave stones of your forbears and experience that sense of coming home to your Borderland.