The short walk to the ruins of Hawkshaw Castle is well worth it. You will have beautiful views of Fruid Reservoir and the hills behind, which will then open out to a dramatic valley down to Hawkshaw Farm. Once you reach the castle site it is easy to imagine what life must have been like here when it was occupied.
Fruid to Hawkshaw
Park and start
This is a short, easy walk, starting from the car park at Fruid Dam and walking to the site of Hawkshaw Castle. Most of the path is easy to walk on. There are a couple of styles to climb, and the last section of the walk through the sheep field can be boggy and rough, and you may have to negotiate nettles.
Park in the public car park in front of Fruid Reservoir.
Start the walk by going through the gate in front of the dam and walking along the roadway that runs the length of the dam. You will see the unusual building of the Scottish Water control house, built in the 1960s. It still contains offices today.
Fruid Reservoir was completed in 1968, and water is piped through tunnels in the hillside to nearby Talla Reservoir to supplement the supply of drinking water for Edinburgh.
Farmland and buildings were sacrificed to build the reservoir (Fruid, Hawkshaw and Carterhope), and are now underneath the water. There is also a chapel and a graveyard lost under the water, and the baptismal font from this kirk now forms part of the signpost directing travellers at the crossroads in Tweedsmuir Village. The chapel was located on the banks of Chapel Burn, a tributary of Fruid Water.
Roman Marble Head
In 1793, a Roman marble head, discovered in one of the fields now under Fruid Reservoir, was donated to the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland. The head was discovered while the field was being ploughed, and there is lots of speculation as to how this Roman artifact found its way to Fruid. It may have been treasure stollen on a raid. It appears to have been violently hacked from the rest of the statue. It is now on display in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.
Bronze Age Archaeology
Recently, during a dry spell, Bronze Age remains were uncovered when the water level in the reservoir dropped, and an archaeological dig from 2003 to 2007 attempted to discover as much as possible during dry summers about the site on the edge of the reservoir. Biggar Archaeological Group excavated two Bronze Age houses, dating them to about 3500 years ago. They found many artefacts, including a bronze axe.
Once you reach the end of the dam, the road curves round and you pass thorough a gate onto an old road complete with passing places that curves round the side of the hill until you see Benner Dodd Hill in the distance and a field surrounded by a stone dyke. This field is ‘inbye’ land, where the farmer keeps ewes during lambing time. This inbye land is usually improved, sheltered land on a hill farm that allows extra attention to be paid to the sheep at this important time.
You then will arrive at the small concrete building next to a small pool. This building was used to monitor water flow before the Edinburgh Corporation (now managed by Scottish Water) decided which valley to dam to provide water for Edinburgh, in the 1950s. You will have to clamber over a couple of styles to get to the other side of the water monitoring station.
You should then follow a rough path, through the enclosed sheep field, to the top of the small mound where you will see a monument. This is a monument to the Porteous Clan and reads
“This Cairn is on Hawkshaw Castle Site in memory of William Porteous (Laird) 1439 and those of the name however spelled worldwide. Erected by the Porteous Associates with kind permission of Mrs Margaret Moffat. Barry Porteous, Kingston, Canada, Laird elect, 9th September 1990.”
King David 1st (1124 to 1153) was said to have come hunting in Tweedsmuir, staying at the Old Peel by Hawkshaw Burn. There was an ancient chapel and curial ground near this peel tower. At this time there would have been thick forest in this area, The Wood of Caledon.
Following the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, Hawkshaw farmland (which included Carterhope and Fingland) was granted by Robert the Bruce to Sir David de Lindsay, Lord of Crawford, who was Regent of Scotland and High Chamberlain of Scotland.
Hawkshaw, Carterhope and Fingland were owned by the Maxwell family from 1400 for about 200 years, before passing to Sir William Murray of Stanhope. He was a strong supporter of King Charles II before the restoration of the Stuart monarchy and was imprisoned in Peebles Jail in 1655 and fined £2000 for his loyalty. It is likely that his estates in Broughton were sold to cover this fine. After the restoration the King rewarded him with a baronetcy in 1664, and he secured many lands around Broughton. He was the MP for Peeblesshire. The lands at Hawkshaw then passed to James Steward, 5th Earl of Galloway in 1738.