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Day 12
Sunday August  7

Return to the Border's

After breakfast at the Cast Iron Grill in the hotel, you will board your coach to again journey to the Borders Region of Scotland.  Your first brief stop along the way will be at the Donald Cargill Memorial.

Donald Cargill was a Scottish Covenanter who worked to uphold the principles of the National Covenant of 1638 and Solemn League and Covenant of 1643 to establish and defend Presbyterianism. A reward of 3000 merks was offered for his apprehension, dead or alive in 1680. The Privy Council increased the reward to 5000 merks in September of that same year.(this would be worth more that £47,000 in todays currency) After numerous hair-breadth escapes he was apprehended at this site during the night of 12 July 1681 by a party of dragoons led by James Irving of Bonshaw. Tried for treason before the High Court of Justiciary, he was found guilty, and executed at the Cross of Edinburgh with four others.

After departing the Cargill memorial, the coach will continue on to Bonshaw Tower

Bonshaw is home to the Irvings, amongst the most notorious of the ”Border Reivers” The Reivers were the product of the constant English-Scottish wars that would often reduce the Border area to a wasteland. The continuing threat of renewed conflict offered little incentive to arable farming. Why bother planting crops if they may be burned before they could be harvested?  The reiving (raiding or plundering) of livestock was however a totally different matter, and so it became the principal business of the Border families. 

Bonshaw Border Reivers

While at Bonshaw, you will learn more about the history of the Border Irvings from our host and Laird of Bonshaw, Christopher Irving as well as more about the history of the Irwin's from noted author and Administrator of the Clan Irwin DNA Study, James Irvine

Christopher Irving

Bonshaw Tower Library

James Irvine

Trustee, Bonshaw Preservation Trust

Seneschal to the Chief of Irvine of Drum

Books by James M Irvine

Prior to departing Bonshaw, you will be served a late lunch in by our hosts

Upon leaving Bonshaw, you will continue on to Bruce's Cave.

Legend of the Cave

In the late 12th century, Dunskellie Castle was a tower belonging to the Irving family, but nothing of it now remains. Local and Irving family legend has it that Robert the Bruce hid from the English soldiers here for several months in 1306, provided with food and drink by his supporter William Irving, Laird of Dunskellie. The cave may have originated as a natural cavity however its enlargement with access via ropes would have provided a secure hiding place for valuables and charters from Dunskellie Castles during border raids or wars.  In 1907 Colonel J. B. Irving refered to the site as the "Cove of the Dunskelly" and the link with Robert the Bruce is linked with the Irving or Irvine family history to help explain the generous gift by the king of the Lands of Drum in Aberdeenshire. Sir William Irving had been Robert the Bruce's standard-bearer at the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn.  local legend that Robert the Bruce hid from the English soldiers here for several months in 1306, provided with food and drink by his supporter William Irving, Laird of Dunskellie.  Robert the Bruce was Lord of Annandale and had lived as child at Lochmaben Castle, only 12 miles distant, as well as the family's other major castles at Turnberry and Loch Doon. None of the above can be verified, but the "Irwin" family likes to spread the legend.

Inscription above the cave entrance

Alcove detail, said to be where Bruce watched a spider struggling to make its web.

After your cave visit, its back to Edinburgh and perhaps a dram in the Brew Bar Lounge