Travel Report: Caddonfoot Parish Church, Scotland.
May 2019. My dad and I were driving back from Yair Forest one afternoon when I caught sight of an impossibly pretty church across the other side of the road. River was in the back of the car panting like a lunatic. So we pulled up in the lay-by alongside a gorgeous section of the River Tweed and hopped over the road to explore Caddonfoot Parish Church.
The church dates back to 1860 when it was built on a design from Alexander Pringle of Whytbank. On the overcast afternoon of our visit the building itself was sadly locked up, so we made do with a walk around its immaculate graveyard.
The main feature here is this War Memorial that honours those from the region who fell for their nation during the first and second World Wars.
Caddonfoot Parish Church.
Located deep in the country, the church serves the nearby communities of Stow, Innerleithen, Yarrow, Selkirk and Galashiels. Hence the people honoured here hail from the surrounding area.
Some of the old gravestones are quite lavish. Take this one for example, with its sculpted sailboats. The plot belongs to Alexander Shaw, the 2nd Baron Craigmyle. He was a lawyer and Scottish Liberal Party politician who fought in the Battle of the Somme during the First World War.
Of course there are less ostentatious graves aplenty, although just a glance at the headstones reveals them to be every bit as touching.
It’s clear that a lot of love and care has gone into the graveyard. The lawn is spotless and there are well tended flowerbeds and lush plant life running along the perimeter. This charming stone bench, with neighbouring birdhouse, is one of several peaceful spots. Just take a seat and gaze out across the church and its resting residents.
Before driving off, we took some time to wander down to the riverbank. This really is a gorgeous section of The River Tweed, meandering between Selkirk and Peebles.
Christmas at Caddonfoot Parish Church.
December 2019. My travel plans have been changing a lot recently. I had expected to celebrate Christmas out in Asia. However, after a string of bad luck and false starts, I finally decided to see the festive period out in Scotland with family. As a result, I got to make amends for not seeing the inside of the church back on that May afternoon.
Attending Christmas Eve mass here in Caddonfoot was a special experience. The atmosphere was warm and inclusive and everyone got a hymn book and a candle. The Reverend Elspeth Harley gave a touching sermon about mental health and homelessness, while elsewhere there was an amusing acted sequence where a middle-aged couple reflect on the birth of Jesus through the mediums of magazine and a tabloid newspaper. News of Mary’s dress even get re-tweeted!
Above all, the service was a near relentless splurge of Christmas carols, including yuletide favourites like Good King Wenceslas, O Come All Ye Faithful and The Holly And The Ivy. Certainly a lovely way to spend Christmas Eve and an intimate finish to my exploring at Caddonfoot Parish Church.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Like this? Check out more of my travel reports from around Galashiels.
Want to delve further afield? Take a look at my articles from all over Scotland.
I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.