Visit Hawick and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Hawick, Scottish Borders, the largest of the Border towns, is known historically for its independence. Almost two centuries ago knitting was established as a cottage industry in Hawick when, in 1771, a local magistrate introduced the first stocking-frames to be exploited successfully in Scotland. Mechanization came with the Industrial Revolution, and the emphasis shifted from hose to fine underwear (which, as the advertisements of the day put it, “enjoyed the patronage of many of the crowned heads of Europe”). The foundation of the modern boom was laid in the 1930s, when Hawick mills turned to production of the now classic “twin-set” combination of sweater and cardigan.
The tradition of civic independence is essentially a male preserve dating back to 1514, when in the aftermath of Flodden the youth (callants) of the town routed an English raiding party. This achievement of arms is celebrated annually with almost pagan energy at the burgh's Common Riding. The marches, or boundaries, of the burgh are inspected by a mounted cavalcade of townsfolk led by an elected “Comet”, bearing a replica of the Hexham pennant captured from the English raiders in 1514. Spectacular to the point of hair-raising is that part of the main procession known as the Chase, when Comet and his followers take a stretch of road from Haggisha towards St Leonard's at the gallop, in symbolic celebration of the triumphant return of the original callants. Tribute to the early heroes is also paid at the equestrian monument in Central Square. The day of the Common Riding is the grand climax to more than a month of preliminaries and is one of the most full-blooded festivals in the country.
Built along the walled banks of the Teviot, and its tributary the Slitrig Burn, Hawick dates visually from the latter half of the last century. The long, narrow High Street is flanked in the main by solid, plain stone buildings — busy, well-stocked shops on the ground floor with two or three storeys of housing or offices above. Although distinctively a close-knit community, tucked as it is in a fold of the Border hills, Hawick serves as a focal point for an extensive outlying farming area. It has the oldest-established auction market in the British Isles — a thriving family concern that has passed from father to son in unbroken succession since 1817.
It is rugby, however, that is Hawick's abiding passion in sport. Here, as in the valleys of Wales, the game is played, watched, and discussed with intense democratic dedication. It is, in short, a mode of life. The Hawick team, colloquially called the “Greens”, have maintained a high place in the records of club rugby and contributed notable players to the Scottish international side for many years. Their sociable party piece is a tumultuous rendering of the town song Teribus ye Ten Odin, traditionally based on an ancient Saxon invocation to the deities Thor and Odin. But anyone less likely than a Hawick man to need the intervention of the gods on a rugby field is hard to imagine.
Nearby towns: Jedburgh, Langholm, Selkirk
Nearby villages: Ancrum, Ashkirk, Chesters, Denholm, Ettrickbridge, Lilliesleaf, Newcastleton, Teviothead
Have you decided to visit Hawick or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Hawick bed and breakfast (a Hawick B&B or Hawick b and b)
- a Hawick guesthouse
- a Hawick hotel (or motel)
- a Hawick self-catering establishment, or
- other Hawick accommodation