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Battle Valleys


A Portrait of the Border

Ronald Turnbull

Award-winning writer and photographer Ronald Turnbull explores the history and beauty of the Border on both the English and Scottish sides.


112 pages
267x250 mm
Out of Stock
Pre Order
Pub. Date:
7th June 2012

'Every valley has its battle, and every stream its song' Walter Scott
For three hundred years the reivers' country of the Border was an enclave between England and Scotland with its own laws, its own ethics, and an economy based on theft, blackmail and kidnapping for ransom. Over moorland and bog, through the passes of Cheviot and the fords of the Tyne, the reivers rode 60 miles in an autumn night. A skirmish at dawn with lances and the long-shafted Jedburgh axe; then back again with the stolen cows, with the smoke of burning thatch behind them.
This book explores in words and photographs the beauty of the Border - on both the English and Scottish sides - where the memory of those terrible centuries lingers on. As well as its battle, every valley boasts its 'bastle' or fortified farmhouse, its pele tower or grim border fortress.
Award-winning writer and local resident Ronald Turnbull transports the reader in history and pictures through Ettrick and Yarrow, Liddesdale and Redesdale, Teviot and Tweed. Along the big rivers, thickets of hogweed spring tall as reivers' lances, and the fields are splashed with lurid gorse. Above are bleak moorlands, and the wild, high Cheviot hills.


22 Scottish West March

30 The Debateable Lands

40 English West March

50 Scottish Middle March

58 Cheviot Hills

74 English Middle March

82 Scottish East March: The Merse

92 English East March

98 Looking Back Along The Border

106 Further Reading

112 Acknowledgments

112 Index

RONALD TURNBULL is a geographer and a walker. Author of over a dozen highly regarded walking books and guides, he has won seven awards from the Outdoor Writers' Guild. Ronald lives in Thornhill in Dumfriesshire. His other titles for Frances Lincoln are Granite and Grit (ISBN 9780711231801), Blencathra (ISBN 9780711229860), The West Highland Way (ISBN 9780711230330) and Sandstone and Sea Stacks (ISBN 9780711232280).

Highly readable book

The Northumbrian

[Turnball's] wit, gorgeous photography and colourful insights into history combine to make this a fascinating read.

Outdoor Photography

Specialist but nonetheless well researched and an interesting read.

Amateur Photographer

Photographs of lochs, wildlife, scenery and monuments certainly bring the history to life, and all add up to a great read for anyone interested in history

The Westmorland Gazette
Frances Lincoln
Other books by this author
  • Blencathra
  • The West Highland Way
  • Granite and Grit
  • Sandstone and Sea Stacks
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