Dunbar and Witch Burnings

This is night No.87/2018 living in my caravan. Now pitched up at the Dunbar Camping & Caravanning Club Site near Broxburn on the outskirts of Dunbar.

Got up at 0600 to fine weather. Took the dogs for a quick 'emptying' towards the Tweed, and after breakfast I took them out for a longer walk.

I've done this walk before, a nice circular, past Melrose Abbey, through Newstead, then return along the banks of the Tweed to Melrose.

The Abbey is a spectacular building, despite having been ruined in the past. It must have been a stunning place when it had all the stained glass and roofs.

Lovely weather as we headed out to Newstead. Interesting, Newstead claims to be the oldest inhabited village in Scotland? Doesn't strike me as that old compared to my village!

I think they must suffer from a lack of children in Newstead, the swings were covered in Ivy.

Unfortunately, plans were scuppered again this trip by farmers. There were cattle with calves on the strip of land where the footpath back to Melrose runs. This must put lots of people off. The farms are huge here, surely they could either use a field away from a footpath, or put up a fence? Really cheeses me off, and there were no warning signs. Still a good walk, I double backed to Newstead and followed the old rail line (now a fine path) back to Melrose.

I left Melrose around 1130 for the 60min drive to Dunbar. I've driven this road many times, the stretch between Greenlaw and Duns is a fine drive across a huge expanse of heather moorland. Arrived at Dunbar around 1300. I've been here many times, my last visit was in May this year. It's a fairly standard site, but it has great walking right from the site, or a short drive away.

I'm sure it's been built on a former landfill site. There are acres of meadow which never really blooms. Trees which have been planted years ago are still mere saplings and the ground is very firm with very even contours. Still makes for great dog walking.

After setting up, I wanted to visit nearby Spott, a village about 3 miles away. It features in the book I've just read, "The Hidden Ways". It is on the 'Herring Road' which was a road on which women carried baskets of Herring all the way from Dunbar Harbour to Lauder to sell. That is a huge distance.

The author is quite scathing about Spott, a place where evil fanaticism once lived. More than 100 men and women were burnt as witches in the Presbytery of Dunbar, and this stone marks where the last one (and of seven others pointed out by the locals of this tiny place) was dealt with. This is where the locals "piled wood and tar around the feet of a terrified old woman". What I find staggering is that this was 1698, merely a generation before the Jacobite uprisings by folk with wisdom.

Rather 'flowery' memorial next to the stone.

People leave coins (and a screw?).

From here, a short 2 mins to a wood I've walked before. Brock Wood, or the Badgers Wood. A very old and great old wood.

Suffered a bit from yesterdays storms.

Some derelict buidlings within the wood.

Apparently it was owned by Davie Jamieson of Aberdour until quite recently.


  1. Initially, I thought you were in the Broxburn next to Bathgate, which seemed very odd, but then I read that you are still in the more scenic zone. Seems like badger references are rife in that area. Remember too that is how Ibrox got its name and why Broxi, a badger, is the Rangers' mascot. I'm really impressed how much you've picked up from The Hidden Ways. That is defintely your type of book. Although unconnected (at least directly), the story and photos made me think of the under-stated (but still poignant) memorials to the Covenanters around Ayrshire when we did the ultra-race last year.


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