1. January 2016. There are some hidden gems scattered around The Scottish Borders for anyone willing to do a bit of research. I’d lost count of the number of times my dad and I had driven past The towering Waterloo Monument, visible for miles thanks to its lofty location perched on the summit of Peniel Heugh hill. But initially it wasn’t clear how exactly we could access it, the surrounding area a crisscrossing warren of country lanes and checkered farmers fields. But with a little digging my dad worked out which road to take, where to park the car and which woodland path we’d need to find the field that leads to the monument.
2. January 2016. The weather was fearsome that afternoon, with a cracked grey sky, on-off slanting rain and a biting wind that did its best to derail our progress up the hill. Armed with rain jackets, hiking boots and Solo, the hardy family dog, we were both impressed with the simplicity of the structure as it loomed ever larger. Dating back to 1817, the monument is a 48-meter stone column commissioned by the 6th Marquis of Lothian to commemorate the Duke of Wellington’s glorious victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.
3. January 2016. The walk itself is reason enough to come here, an absolutely beautiful area of steep green hills, light woodland and pockets of fresh streams, ponds and brooks. It’s a dog’s paradise and it makes me smile to recall Solo bounding about here like a lunatic with his tongue hanging out.
4. January 2016. The efforts of reaching the monument were well worth it upon arrival. Look out for the inlaid inscription on the base that reads: To The Duke of Wellington And The British Army William Kerr VI Marquess of Lothian And His Tenantry Dedicate This Monument XXX June MDCCCXV. If you want to actually enter the monument and go up the spiral staircase to its wooden viewing platform you’ll need to be organized. First you have to contact the Lothian Estate office at Bonjedward and ask to sign out the key. It’s free to borrow, but best to call in advance (01835 862201) as they keep funny hours. They’ll also help you with directions on how to get there.
5. January 2016. The hassle of getting the key results in a great payoff when you get to the top of the monument. The weather conditions were worsening by the second and yet there was no denying the beauty of The Scottish Borders.
This My 5 is dedicated to the memory of Solo Thomas who is greatly missed. He was so scared going up and down the monument staircase that day and then the poor guy found himself blown about all over the place on top of the viewing platform. Thank lord for the mesh netting.
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