This is a fantastic trail ride through the Scottish Borders visiting historical sites and enjoying stunning scenery along the way. Starting from a highly respected riding centre, the ride takes you to the Falls of Clyde, the hidden homes of the Border Reivers, Traquair Castle and the Bowhill Estate to name but a few. The trails run from April to October, giving a spectacular array of colour as the seasons change, each with it’s own selection of flora and fauna to enjoy.
Out on the trail, the full-board accommodation is in a variety of inns and castles, each with their own history and character to enjoy. Most have beautiful grounds to explore and many also offer spa treatments to help you relax after a long day in the saddle.
Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.
Review received from MK of Rockville, Maryland on 16/09/2022
Arrive at the riding centre after 2pm. Meet and greet other guests and take a short ride horse around the beautiful Centre to get a feel of the environment. Dinner in the restaurant.
Today we'll take a full day picnic ride through the World Heritage Site of New Lanark Village and onto the Famous Falls of Clyde, the highest and most spectacular waterfalls in Scotland. We have a picnic lunch here before continuing through our delightful countryside. This day we will give you your horse for the duration of the trip so it allows us to make changes if necessary. After the ride you may like to visit the Health Spa in New Lanark Village. Dinner in the evening and overnight in our 4 star accommodation.
After breakfast you will be driven to Biggar where the trail begins. You ride across open the country with the steep sided rounded Southern Upland hills rising before you. These were the hidden homes of the Border Reivers, the lawless families who plundered the English borders. The ride takes you along the John Buchan Way, named to commemorate the author of “The 39 Steps” and other adventure books. The village of Broughton houses a museum of his works. Lunch will be enjoyed in a secluded farmstead nestled in the hills. In the afternoon you will ride to Stobo Valley, over another hilltop and in to Manor Valley. Last stop will be at beautiful Stobo Castle, an award winning Spa, for a sumptuous dinner and overnight. Enjoy full use of the spa facilities PLEASE NOTE STOBO CASTLE WILL NOT BE USED ON THE TRAIL IN 2020 (further updates regarding accommodation used on the trail to follow)
Today’s ride takes you along an old drovers’ way, around the quaint town of Peebles. These roads had walls on each side to make driving cattle easier as well as to break the wind and snow. The route takes you close to Scotland’s oldest inhabited house, Traquair Castle. Owned by the Stewarts, the entry gate was locked when ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ failed in his bid to take the Crown from the Hanoverians and the family vowed the gate would remain locked until the Stewarts regained the throne. The Stewarts never gained the throne and the huge gate remains rusty and locked to this day. In the afternoon the trail offers you a spectacular view of Tweed Valley. Overnight in a beautiful old Castle—Barony Castle—and enjoy dinner and the facilities of the Spa. This is a very historic castle and you can find out all about it during your stay.
We continue deeper into the Borders country with this being the most spectacular scenery in all of Scotland. Your guide will take you to all the best vantage points. Overnight and dinner in the famous Hunting Lodge in the town of Selkirk. After dinner you may like to take a stroll into the historic town, the scene of many battles between the Scots and English, and thoroughly beautiful and authentic.
Today we'll ride through the awesome estate of the Duke of Buccleuch, the biggest landowner in Scotland and today the ride will take you to a vantage point where you will be able to see a 360 degree view of the borders, Scotland and England. Lunch is on the tops with incredibly beautiful views. After lunch we make our way to the truck and minibus and return to the Centre. Tonight we will have a welcome back toast of the traditional Glayva followed by dinner and certificate presentation in the restaurant. Overnight in our own delightful complex.
After a leisurely breakfast, you will transfer to your departure airport or train station with great memories of Scotland.
There are many options available for non-riders, who are welcome to stay at the riding centre for the duration of the trail. Mountain biking, water sports and country walks can all be arranged through the hotel. Lanark racecourse and the World Heritage site of New Lanark are close by and the Falls of Clyde are within walking distance. Glasgow and Edinburgh are both less than an hour by car with many activities available including various museums and whiskey tours. There are several golf courses near-by (St. Andrews is approx. 2hrs by car). The Carmichael Estate and visitor centre are approx. 20mins by car. Glentress Forest, which has a range of mountain biking trails, is approx. 1hr by car. M&D’s Scotland’s Theme Park is less than an hour’s drive.
Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.
There are 30 horses at the riding centre including cobs, Appaloosas and Warmbloods. For novices there are schoolmasters that will inspire trust. For more experienced riders there are bolder and more powerful horses available. There are also many ponies for children of all ages and experience.
The tack and riding style is English. The pace of the riding is dictated by rider experience and the terrain which is either flat or rolling hillside. Safety is paramount and riding is done in traditional English style.
This ride is suitable for all abilities from intermediate to experienced riders. Please note that you must be able to do rising trot for a sustained period of time and take a forward seat / stand in stirrups while riding uphill and cantering. Riders do not have to assist in the preparation or care of the horses, although you may help to groom and tack up if you wish. The minimum age for this ride is 12 years. Younger riders with high levels of experience will be considered, please enquire.
The weight limit for this ride is 210 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
Accommodation is in 3 and 4 star hotels, inns and castles with comfortable double and twin rooms. At the riding centre hotel all rooms have an en-suite with shower, toilet and sink; towels are provided. The rooms also come with a flat screen TV and DVD player, complimentary tea and coffee, kettle, iron and board and hair dryer. There is free WiFi throughout the hotel. Garden Rooms can sleep up to 4 people and include a microwave, fridge and toaster in addition to the usual amenities. There is a lounge for guests to relax in and various entertainment facilities for children. Laundry and drying services are also available. There is also a fitness centre on site for guests to use.
Facilities at hotels along the trail vary but are all to a 3 or 4 star level. Many include spa facilities (additional fees apply to use these). The hotels used are Stobo Castle, Peebles Hydro, McDonald Cardrona, Phillipburn House, and Dryburgh Abbey or similar. PLEASE NOTE STOBO CASTLE WILL NOT BE USED ON THE TRAIL IN 2020 (further updates regarding accommodation used on the trail to follow)
Meals at the riding centre are served in the reception restaurant area with table service. Menus vary throughout the year but are always creative using good quality ingredients. Breakfast can be pre-ordered the night before with the option to have a continental buffet, traditional Scottish breakfast or your choice of cooked items. The on-site bistro is also open Wednesday to Sunday and serves a selection of meals including homemade pizzas and burgers. Children’s menus are also available.
Lunch on the trail will be a picnic with water provided. Many of the inns and castle hotels along the route offer seasonal menus using local produce.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.
European Union nationals do not require a visa for the UK. In addition a visa is not required for stays of up to six months in the United Kingdom for nationals of many countries.
Winters are cool and overcast, with a January mean of 5.0 °C (41.0 °F), though lows sometimes fall below freezing. Snowfall accumulation is infrequent and short-lived. The spring months (March to May) are usually mild and often quite pleasant. Many of Scotland's trees and plants begin to flower at this time of the year and parks and gardens are filled with spring colours.
During the summer months (June to August) the weather can vary considerably from day to day ranging from relatively cool and wet to quite warm with the odd sunny day. Long dry spells of warm weather are generally very scarce. Overcast and humid conditions without rain are frequent. The warmest month is usually July. Autumns are generally cool to mild with increasing precipitation. During early autumn there can be some settled periods of weather and it can feel pleasant with mild temperatures and some sunny days.
There are no special vaccinations required for travel to the UK. Ask your doctor for specific information.
England use 3 pin plugs, 240V, 50Hz. You will need to bring adaptors.
All rooms have electricity for charging cameras and batteries. There are shops in Lanark where you can purchase extra batteries if necessary.
Hard hats are compulsory but if you do not have one they are available to borrow.
• Jodhpurs or similar.
• Riding boots or strong boots with a low heel.
• Warm jumper
• Waterproof coat.
• Riding gloves are advisable.
• Casual clothes for the evening.
• Insect repellent
• Swim suit
These programmes are 7 days/6 nights with 5 days riding available on set dates.
2022: 28; September 11, 25; October 9.
2023: 16 April; 7, 21 May; 4, 18 June; 2, 16 July; 6, 20 August; 10, 24 September; 8 October.
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In the footsteps of William Wallace - Alan Young
Mountain biking, water sports and country walks can all be arranged through the hotel. Lanark racecourse and the World Heritage site of New Lanark are close by and the Falls of Clyde are within walking distance. Glasgow and Edinburgh are both less than an hour by car with many activities available including various museums and whiskey tours. There are several golf courses near-by (St. Andrews is approx. 2hrs by car). The Carmichael Estate and visitor centre are approx. 20mins by car. Glentress Forest, which has a range of mountain biking trails, is approx. 1hr by car. M&D’s Scotland’s Theme Park is less than an hour’s drive.
Hares, rabbits, deer, badgers, foxes, hawks and various other birdlife.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country in western Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to its east, the English Channel to its south and the Celtic Sea to its south-south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world and the 11th-largest in Europe. It is also the 21st-most populous country, with an estimated 65.1 million inhabitants. Together, this makes it the fourth-most densely populated country in the European Union.
The capital of the United Kingdom and its largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million, the fourth-largest in Europe and second-largest in the European Union. Other major urban areas in the United Kingdom include the conurbations centred on Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester. The United Kingdom consists of four countries—England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The last three have devolved administrations, each with varying powers based in their capitals, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, respectively. The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 6 February 1952.
England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain (which lies in the North Atlantic) in its centre and south; and includes over 100 smaller islands such as the Isles of Scilly, and the Isle of Wight. England's terrain mostly comprises low hills and plains, especially in central and southern England. However, there are uplands in the north (for example, the mountainous Lake District, and the Pennines) and in the southwest (for example, Dartmoor and the Cotswolds). England has a temperate maritime climate: it is mild with temperatures not much lower than 0 °C (32 °F) in winter and not much higher than 32 °C (90 °F) in summer. The weather is damp relatively frequently and is changeable. The coldest months are January and February, the latter particularly on the English coast, while July is normally the warmest month. Months with mild to warm weather are May, June, September and October. Rainfall is spread fairly evenly throughout the year.
Scotland's only land border is with England, which runs for 60 miles (97 km) in a north-easterly direction from the Solway Firth in the west to the North Sea on the east coast. Scotland accounts for just under a third of the total area of the UK, covering 78,772 square kilometres (30,410 sq mi) and including nearly eight hundred islands, predominantly west and north of the mainland; notably the Hebrides, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands. Scotland is the most mountainous country in the UK. The more rugged Highland region contains the majority of Scotland's mountainous land, including Ben Nevis which at 1,343 metres (4,406 ft) is the highest point in the British Isles. The climate of Scotland is temperate and very changeable, but rarely extreme. Scotland is warmed by the North Atlantic Drift and given the northerly location of the country, experiences much milder conditions than areas on similar latitudes, such as Labrador in Canada - where icebergs are a common feature in winter.
Wales accounts for less than a tenth of the total area of the UK, covering 20,779 square kilometres (8,020 sq mi). Wales is mostly mountainous, though South Wales is less mountainous than North and mid Wales. The highest mountains in Wales are in Snowdonia and include Snowdon which, at 1,085 metres (3,560 ft), is the highest peak in Wales. Wales has a maritime climate, the predominant winds being south-westerly and westerly, blowing in from the Atlantic Ocean. This means that the weather in Wales is in general mild, cloudy, wet and windy. The country's wide geographic variations cause localised differences in amounts of sunshine, rainfall and temperature. Rainfall in Wales varies widely, with the highest average annual totals in Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons, and the lowest near the coast and in the east, close to the English border.
In July 2007, England is introducing a smoking ban in pubs and other public places, following on from the success of the scheme in Ireland. Be aware that there may be large fines for smoking in banned areas.
The UK is on GMT time. Although most weights and measures are now metric (celsius, litres and kg) some imperial measures remain and distances are indicated in miles.
The international dialling code is +44.