Trippin’ to the Tree The weather was warm and over cast first thing on Sunday morning. Unsure of the weather ahead we grabbed our all weather gear and set out. Years ago we had found an ancient oak tree just out side Jedburgh. Not only is the tree amazing the route to it is a reasonable ride.
Unfortunately due to miscommunication we set out straight down the motorway and bypass to Dalkieth. Not the most interesting route but it got us to what was essentially the real starting point of the ride. (I would suggest for a longer ride avoiding motorways to head for Caranwath to Peebles to Melrose to Jedburgh. This is a much nicer route and is one I will use next time as we still have more to explore in that area.)
As we often do when out on the bike we end up never going directly to our destination. Sunday was no different and nearing Melrose I saw the sign post for Dryburgh Abbey. I have been to Melrose Abbey often but have never visited Dryburgh. After many years of riding together it only took a few seconds of flagging left to the rider to get over the message that we were detouring. The road we ended up on was not much over a single track that that dipped and wallowed through dense woodland and eventually climbed to what I later discovered was Scott’s View
It is certainly worth stopping at, with the Eildon Hills rising in the distance. As is pretty normal when out on the bike other guys tend to stop and talk and give hints and tips on other routes and shops etc. Just as we had re-dressed to get back on the bike and helmets secured we had one such encounter. It was really nice and informative (we now have a new trip lined up) but damn it was hot. The over cast morning had turned into clear skies and sunshine. Not something to complain about when living in Scotland. Eventually extricating ourselves we headed on down to the abbey.
Dryburgh Abbey is a lovely stopping point.
As is quite normal for https://members.historic-scotland.gov.uk/ the staff are very helpful and frequently offer to keep helmets and jackets in order for you to view the grounds without being lumbered with all your kit. (It may be different if you are in large groups.)
The grounds of the Abbey gave welcome respite from the heat with the trees providing much needed shade.
Moving on we set out for our destination, The Capon Tree. This is an ancient oak just outside Jedburgh. It can be found about 2 mile south of the town and is just after crossing the third bridge over the river. It is very easy to miss and you need to pay attention to the right for an old cast iron sign.
We have discovered that it is easier to stop at if you ride past it and turn in one of the right hand junctions and ride back to it. Just beyond it there is drive way with space to park up and walk back to the tree. This tree is one of the last remaining trees of the Jed forest and it is believed to have got its name from the Capuchin Monks who sheltered underneath it on the way to Jedburgh Abbey. It could possibly be a thousand years old. The tree has split in two and has a huge hollow in it. It’s massive boughs and trunk are now supported with huge props, but this does not detract from what it is, a piece of living history.
Leaving this impressive tree for our return journey we decided to stop of in Melrose to eat. This never happened as we had picked the weekend of the Border Book festival and Melrose was full to bursting. Continuing on our route home we went all out on dining, a supermarket chain, a meal deal and a car-park. A prepacked sandwich has rarely tasted so good. Our return route was up through Galashiels and sadly back up the bypass and motorway. Next time I’ll try and arrange a better start to our trips but sometimes these roads give us more time on more interesting further away routes, a necessary convenience.