Scottish Borders Escape to the Country


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Scottish Borders

Alistair Appleton dons a kilt as he goes property-hunting in the Scottish Borders for a couple of lottery winners who are seeking a family home.


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No prizes for guessing which country I'm in today!

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But if not for the Scot who lived in this house behind me,

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the wearing of tartan may have been consigned to the dustbin of history.

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Find out which Scottish county I'm in and what a Scotsman wears under his kilt in just a moment!

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Our couple today have won the lottery, but it's not a castle they're looking for.

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This move is all about keeping it real.

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I wouldn't change a thing out here.

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They certainly find out how the other half live!

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Where's my tea, Susan?

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But will they plump for a comfortable family home

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or a grand country manor?

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-It's what dreams are made of. It's lovely.

-It doesn't show this on the internet.

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Today I'm in the Scottish Borders and this is Abbotsford, home to Sir Walter Scott,

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poet, novelist and nationalist.

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And it was Scott who saved the tartan.

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It had been outlawed to keep the unruly Highlanders at bay in the 1700s.

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In 1822, when George IV visited Edinburgh,

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Sir Walter persuaded the king to put on a kilt,

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thereby allowing the Scottish people to dig out their tartan and make it their national dress again.

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And as for what a Scottish man wears under his kilt...

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well, I'm English, so you'll never know!

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Covering nearly 2,000 square miles in the south of Scotland,

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the Scottish borders is an area of sweeping landscapes and dramatic history.

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Castle ruins and majestic abbeys

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punctuate distant horizons

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harking back to the Borders' tumultuous past.

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In between market towns such as Jedburgh with its sturdy stone-built cottages,

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the countryside is famously home to nearly 100 miles

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of the mighty River Tweed,

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"the most romantic, if not the most beautiful place in Scotland"

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was how Sir Walter Scott described the area that he made his home.

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Overall in Scotland, property prices are quite reasonable

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although of the country's 32 regional authorities,

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the Scottish Borders here is in the top ten most expensive.

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For example, it's 18% more expensive to buy a house here

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than in neighbouring Dumfries and Galloway.

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The reason for that is the Borders has good commutable links

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into the Scottish capital in Edinburgh.

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So, if you fancy a property north of the border, take a look at what's on offer.

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Starting near Berwick-upon-Tweed,

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this barn conversion is on the market for £260,000.

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The kitchen has plenty of storage, there's an inviting living room,

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and three well-proportioned bedrooms.

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For £335,000, this converted farm in Swinton Mill is all about space.

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The modern kitchen/diner leads through to a charming living room.

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There are three double bedrooms and a good-sized garden.

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At the top of the property ladder,

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this impressive stone-built family home in Gattonside

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is on the market for £570,000.

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The spacious kitchen/diner and the living room

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take in the stunning views across the Borders.

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There are four well-appointed bedrooms in all.

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The people who call the verdant Scottish Borders their home consider themselves lucky.

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Our couple today are no strangers to Lady Luck! Let's meet them.

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Yorkshire couple Michael and Susan have been married for 16 years

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and live in their semi-detached home with their two sons.

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However, two years ago, they had an unexpected but very welcome dramatic change of fortune.

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Me and my dad used to play the Lottery. Unfortunately, my dad died

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and I took his lottery numbers on.

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But on the anniversary of my dad's death, we actually won the Lottery on his numbers.

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So for us, we're living his dream as well, aren't we?

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-And he's making our dream come true.

-Yeah.

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Unchanged by their million-pound windfall, they're about to renew their wedding vows.

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It's not just their lives that are about to be transformed.

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Susan's three siblings, Joanne, David and Beverley,

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are making the move too.

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I care for my two sisters and brother.

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Two have got learning difficulties

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and my sister is severely handicapped

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which restricts her in a lot of ways.

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So this family of seven is going to need one sizeable Scottish roof over their heads.

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Susan's disabled sister will need a ground-floor bedroom.

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So, what else is on the list?

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The house we want has to be five to six bedrooms.

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-Yeah.

-An internal garage so we can convert that into a bedroom and a wet room for Joanne.

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That would be ideal.

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-A nice big kitchen.

-A nice big kitchen.

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A couple of rooms downstairs for a bit of privacy for us all.

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A lovely big garden, if possible.

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Michael fell in love with the area around Jedburgh while working there a few years ago.

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So they decided on the Scottish Borders as a location.

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But what style of house will lure them out of suburbia and into the countryside?

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We like the thought of an old farmhouse or a barn,

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so long as inside it was done quite modern.

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-I'm hoping for a lovely bigger garden so that we can all sit out and spend family time.

-Yeah.

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-But you love your wildlife.

-I love wildlife. I'd love it to be somewhere really rural

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where the wildlife come into your garden and you can sit and watch them. It's amazing to see.

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So it's the rural good life with a modern twist.

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But what should we steer away from?

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I'd never consider buying a really old house that needed everything doing to it

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because I'm a full-time carer and we haven't got the time.

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Susan and Michael don't have to sell their current home

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so how much of the jackpot are they prepared to part with

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to make this dream a reality?

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The budget for our new property is £450,000.

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-If they found a house that was a bit more money, maybe we could go up to £500,000.

-No more.

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Susan and Michael should win a prize for being the coolest Lottery winners!

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They're not interested in the glitzy high life. They want a home where all the family can live as one.

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How sweet is that!

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But it's quite a big family, seven of them, so we need at least six bedrooms,

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one of which will be on the ground floor with wheelchair access for Joanne.

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They have a healthy budget for the Scottish Borders

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so I hope we'll hit the property jackpot!

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Michael and Susan don't know Scotland that well,

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so it seems sensible to start with the one area Michael is familiar with,

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the market town of Jedburgh.

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We'll be viewing three homes

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but I won't tell them the price until after the tours.

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Then there's the mystery house that promises to put into question their idea of a dream country home.

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-Welcome to the Scottish Borders.

-Hello.

-You've not been here before?

-I've never been to Scotland.

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-What do you think so far?

-It's absolutely amazing.

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The views are breathtaking.

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-You have visited?

-Yes, about 20 years ago when I was working here.

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I've always said I'd like to come and retire here.

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So hopefully this is it!

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Most people when they think of winning the lottery, they'd go and buy a castle.

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-But you've not done that.

-No.

-No, we're being very careful.

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We've invested the money, which has made us money.

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So we know that even with the budget we've got, we've still got plenty

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to look after us, it's a comfort blanket for us.

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What is your final budget? The figure's moved around a bit.

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-The final budget is up to 550. 550,000.

-550.

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So a few adaptations for Joanne. But are you up for a big project?

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We understand that we might have to do decorating and stuff,

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but we don't want to have start rebuilding a whole house.

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-A ruined castle?

-No, not that!

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There are some lovely historical properties and lots of nice properties,

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especially for your budget. Let's go see them!

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-Great stuff.

-Fine.

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It's two years now since you won. Has it all faded? Has it become normality for you?

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-Oh, no. We still wake up in the morning...

-Still got that numb feeling.

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Look into each other's eyes as if to say, "Wow! This is amazing!"

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-Yeah.

-I don't think we'll ever lose that feeling.

-I don't, either.

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They're not taking their good fortune for granted.

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I really hope that Susan and Michael find our houses just as amazing.

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Our first offering is seven miles from the border town of Hawick.

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Once humming to the sound of 50 mills

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that lined the bank of the River Teviot,

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Hawick flourished during the 19th-century textile boom.

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Today it's at the start of the Borders' cashmere trail.

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There's a thriving high street with a 19th-century church

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and an impressive town hall built in 1884.

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The oldest building in the town is the Black Tower of Drumlanrig,

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once owned by the influential Buccleugh family,

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one of the largest private land-holders in Europe.

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And our first property was once home to the 9th Duke of Buccleugh's gamekeeper.

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Here we go.

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The first house on offer in the Borders.

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Oh, it's great, isn't it?

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-Amazing.

-It is.

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-Not just the house. It's the garden with it.

-It's lovely.

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You wanted views, Michael.

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-Incredible spot.

-The views have done it for me!

-What about the look of it?

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-It's lovely. Really lovely.

-Breathtaking.

-Picture postcard.

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-Lovely.

-I want to see what you think of the inside.

-Let's crack on.

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Michael wants rural views and wildlife on his doorstep.

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So I'm not surprised he's won over by the aspect.

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Let's hope the interior of this 19th-century lodge continues to impress.

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Come on in.

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-This is the sitting room, the main sitting room.

-Wow, that's lovely.

-It is.

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-Dead easy, we'd get sat down here no problem.

-It's right cosy.

-Yeah.

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Originally it would have been two rooms. See the beam there?

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It would have been two rooms in the original cottage, but it's been knocked through and made bigger.

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-Is it enough for all seven of you?

-Yeah.

-Definitely.

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I'll show you the dining room, also a good size. And the hall's big.

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-Nice big doorway to get a wheelchair in.

-Yeah.

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-It's a nice room.

-This is the dining room.

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

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It's interesting the floor here and in the hallway was all reclaimed

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from a former ballroom in a hotel in Hawick.

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-People have come round for dinner and said, "Oh, I used to dance on that floor!"

-Oh!

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-It's got a bit of local history.

-Oh, it's lovely.

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-It goes through here. Again a wide door.

-Yeah.

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This is the kitchen.

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-That's nice.

-It's nice and quaint, isn't it?

-It is.

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I was wondering whether it's big enough for you.

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I was just going to say that it is a bit small.

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I expected... I think, in my head, I'm expecting a big kitchen.

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-Like a big family kitchen.

-Yeah.

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Because you've got such a nice dining room in there,

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this actually could be made more into a bigger kitchen round here

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with more units cos you don't actually need that there.

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-It would be simple.

-Yeah.

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Michael makes a good point. There's plenty of space in this property but it may take reconfiguring.

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Next to the kitchen, light streams into another reception room.

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And there's a downstairs bathroom.

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Heading upstairs, there are three bedrooms to choose from.

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This is the master bedroom.

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Compared to our master bedroom at home, it is a bit small.

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-But it's cosy.

-We've got a big bedroom with an en-suite bathroom.

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-This one has an en-suite.

-Oh, right.

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It's the sweetest en-suite I've seen in a long time!

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-Look.

-Ah!

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A tiny space.

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-Look.

-That's cool!

-A fold-out shower!

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-I've never seen one like that before.

-She had it specially made.

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A very clever use of space.

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There are two more double bedrooms,

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perfect for their teenage boys.

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There's also a lovely family bathroom on this level.

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Back downstairs to the rear of the property,

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there's more space for the rest of the family.

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So we've gone through a series of rooms, utility room, and we come into the annexe.

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-This is almost like a separate house.

-Yeah.

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-It's nice that, isn't it?

-It is.

-What's really good

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is that you've got two big bedrooms here and a bathroom.

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-And a big garage.

-Right.

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And if it's got a downstairs bathroom,

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-we maybe could use that for my sister.

-Yeah.

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This is definitely an area where you two could put your heads together

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and decide how to use it.

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-Let's go and look in the garden.

-OK.

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Michael enjoys rural views and wildlife.

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So the five acres surrounding the property should fit the bill nicely!

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Come on through. Because this is all yours, too!

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-It's gorgeous, isn't it?

-That is amazing.

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Right down to the very bottom?

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You have a three-acre paddock here, along where the hedge is.

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Then this fence is actually your boundary.

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There's a little burn here that takes you down to the River Teviot

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which runs at the bottom there.

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-All around is the Duke of Buccleugh's land.

-Yeah.

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-The other side of the river is his.

-God, that's massive!

-It is!

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That's not all of it. There's another two-acre paddock on the other side!

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-What do you think about having five acres?

-I can't believe it.

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Me, I'd be suited. I'd be absolutely suited, me.

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-I wouldn't change a thing out here.

-No.

-Let's walk along the river

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and see the back.

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I was worried that this amount of land would be overwhelming.

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But Michael in particular seems very happy.

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Quite a result!

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This brings us back into the very private back garden.

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Definitely. It is private, is this.

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-It's nice.

-What are you feeling? You both look a bit shell-shocked!

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-I am. Very.

-It is a shock.

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You say, yeah, you hoped one day you'd find a property like this

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and you look on the internet and do what you want,

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-but actually coming to see it...

-It's amazing.

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-It's what dreams are made of.

-It doesn't show you this on the internet.

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-It just doesn't.

-The other thing you need to know is how much it costs.

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-Can you make a guess at how much?

-I would say 550, me.

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Top of your budget. What do you think, Michael?

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-I'll go for 525, then.

-525.

-525.

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Right.

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This is on the market for offers around 475!

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-God.

-Wow!

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-So it's actually £75,000 under your budget.

-Yeah.

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-That's amazing, is that!

-It's unbelievable.

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It is for the amount of land and the house that you get with it.

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Why don't you go back through into the annexe,

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have a think about what's happening in the annexe.

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-Then I'll meet you at the front and we can motor on.

-OK.

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Well, it sounds like our first property has hit the mark.

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It's well under budget at £475,000.

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The integrated garage could be converted into a bedroom with an en-suite for Susan's sister.

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Put a door there. It takes you into that guest room round there.

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-It'll be perfect.

-Absolutely perfect.

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Couldn't ask for a better room.

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To convert the garage, it's an absolute fantastic space.

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We could make it into a lovely bedroom for my sister.

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My first impression when I walked into the yard, it was absolutely amazing.

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The garden, beautiful. The house is astonishing,

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but me, personally, it's all about the garden and the land.

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That's what I want up here.

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-Hey.

-Hi!

-Are you sold on it? Do you like it?

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-It's lovely.

-Amazing!

-It's not the only one I'm showing you.

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So hold your horses!

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As the gateway between Scotland and England,

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the Borders have been the setting for many a bloody conflict through the centuries.

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Standing 12 miles from the English/Scottish border,

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Jedburgh is the largest market town in the region.

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It was on the front line when attacked by English raiding parties.

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To find out more about Jedburgh and its rather grisly past,

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we sent Susan and Michael to meet Joyce Crane at Jedburgh Abbey,

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one of the four great abbeys in Scotland.

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It was built in the 12th century by King David I of Scotland.

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King David was a very pious man and he wanted to show his authority in Scotland

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so he built four abbeys. Jedburgh is one of them.

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We're very, very proud of our abbey.

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During the centuries, it saw many battles and many skirmishes

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right up until the Reformation in the middle of the 16th century.

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Due to its size and grandeur, the abbey was a frequent target for English troops.

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But if the soldiers were caught by the Scots,

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they certainly didn't have much of a future.

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One sporting tradition in Jedburgh made use of an English body part,

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a game with gruesome origins that still exists today.

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One of our traditions is Jedburgh handball,

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which is a game that's played on the streets today.

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It's a leather ball that's thrown up into the air and they catch it

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and then smuggle it up and down the alleyways and get it over the boundaries.

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In medieval times, tradition had it that it was the severed heads of Englishmen that we used

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from our skirmishes in local battles that we had in this vicinity.

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That's what represents the ball. They don't, thankfully, do that today!

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It wasn't just the abbey that the English targeted.

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Today an impressive Victorian jail house sits on the site originally occupied by Jedburgh Castle.

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The castle was subject to so many attacks by the English

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that it was eventually destroyed in 1409.

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Curiously, it wasn't the English who finally razed it to the ground.

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After many skirmishes and raiding parties from our English cousins,

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the Jedburgh people decided to burn it down themselves.

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You can understand why they built it here because it's an amazing view.

0:19:390:19:44

Exactly. That's one of the reasons why the original castle was in this position.

0:19:440:19:50

It was used as a look-out tower, basically.

0:19:500:19:53

It's amazing, isn't it? It's lovely.

0:19:530:19:55

Strongholds, castles and tower houses played an important role during war time.

0:19:550:20:01

But the mighty River Tweed has also been the setting for bloody battles,

0:20:010:20:05

such as Malcolm II's victory over the Northumbrians at Carham in 1018.

0:20:050:20:11

It was a battle that led to the river becoming the border of England and Scotland.

0:20:110:20:16

These days, the river is not a stage for war

0:20:160:20:19

but a sought-after holiday destination,

0:20:190:20:21

attracting £90 million-worth of tourism to the Scottish Borders every year.

0:20:210:20:26

The river boasts the longest fishing season in the country

0:20:260:20:29

and Bill Drube is one of the sport anglers that fish salmon here every year.

0:20:290:20:33

On the River Tweed on one bank, further south, is England. And on the north bank it's Scotland.

0:20:350:20:40

Up here in Scotland, the river is one of the premier salmon rivers in Europe.

0:20:400:20:45

About ten to 15,000 salmon caught on rod and line every year in this river.

0:20:450:20:49

People come from across the world.

0:20:490:20:51

Do the fish taste different from the Tweed than what you'd get in a supermarket?

0:20:510:20:56

Absolutely. The normal supermarket, the salmon you get almost always comes from a fish farm.

0:20:560:21:03

Wild salmon tastes completely different.

0:21:030:21:05

They look different from anything you buy in a supermarket.

0:21:050:21:09

It's truly organic. It's never seen a person - until you catch it!

0:21:090:21:13

It's illegal to keep or sell salmon caught on the Tweed

0:21:130:21:17

because conservation of wild stocks is of such importance.

0:21:170:21:21

A great spot for Michael and Susan to experience nature when they do finally hook their dream property.

0:21:210:21:27

Our second house is in the hillside village of Chirnside.

0:21:310:21:35

The village boasts a magnificent church that dates back to the 12th century,

0:21:350:21:40

surrounded by a host of stone-built terraces with views across the Tweed Valley.

0:21:400:21:45

The charming village also has a local shop and a pub,

0:21:450:21:48

so whether it's a pint of milk or real ale they're after, they'll be well serviced.

0:21:480:21:53

Okey-dokey.

0:21:530:21:55

This is the property I wanted to show you.

0:21:580:22:02

This is a whole different kettle of fish.

0:22:020:22:04

-Because we're now in the middle of a village.

-Yeah.

0:22:040:22:08

This was the grandest house in Chirnside. It's what they call the manse, or the vicarage.

0:22:080:22:13

It belonged to the church. It's Grade II listed, or Grade B, as they call it in Scotland.

0:22:130:22:18

-Yeah.

-It dates back to about the 1750s, this part from 1757.

0:22:180:22:22

This bit is a Victorian extension. What do you think?

0:22:220:22:26

It's big.

0:22:260:22:28

-It's big?

-It's big.

-Big.

-It's big and it's grand.

-Yes.

0:22:280:22:30

I'm keen to show you inside.

0:22:300:22:33

Ready? It's quite grand.

0:22:330:22:35

The grandness continues on the inside. I know they wanted a modern interior,

0:22:360:22:42

so I hope they can see past the period furniture.

0:22:420:22:45

Come into this amazing hallway.

0:22:480:22:51

Wow.

0:22:520:22:53

It's got really high ceilings.

0:22:530:22:56

-Yeah.

-Yeah. All of this is the original stuff.

0:22:560:23:00

The original coving, original roses, original skirting boards, door frames.

0:23:000:23:05

What it is for us, although we want the beauty of the house,

0:23:050:23:08

and the features in it,

0:23:080:23:10

we need space.

0:23:100:23:12

So space is what it's about for us.

0:23:120:23:14

See if this is big enough.

0:23:140:23:17

Is this large enough? Spacious enough?

0:23:170:23:20

-Oh, yes, that's a massive room.

-Definitely.

0:23:200:23:23

Great, isn't it? These old Georgian properties with such high ceilings.

0:23:230:23:28

-It's a nice space, isn't it?

-It's a very big room.

-Yeah.

0:23:280:23:31

This is just one of two sitting rooms. This is the informal sitting room.

0:23:310:23:36

The formal sitting room is through here.

0:23:360:23:39

It's very formal!

0:23:430:23:45

Equally big.

0:23:450:23:48

-It is.

-Nice big room.

0:23:490:23:51

It's nice, but obviously...

0:23:510:23:53

-The thing is, we've got really modern...

-Furniture.

-..furniture.

0:23:530:23:57

And it's just trying to figure out

0:23:570:24:00

whether the change from older to modern

0:24:000:24:04

would look right.

0:24:040:24:06

But these sort of spaces, none of this will be here if you bought it.

0:24:060:24:10

-Empty.

-Beautiful wooden floors, big walls, big high ceilings.

0:24:100:24:15

-On that sort of canvas, you can put anything and it would look great.

-Yeah.

0:24:150:24:20

But it is a magnificent property. Let's check out the dining room.

0:24:200:24:24

So they've got this as the dining room.

0:24:290:24:33

And they have asked Scottish Heritage, the people you talk to about altering things,

0:24:330:24:38

if they could put in a French door here. Take that window down to the floor.

0:24:380:24:43

They said that's fine.

0:24:430:24:44

-So that could be an extra entrance and exit for Joanne.

-Yeah.

0:24:440:24:50

-If she wanted her own entrance.

-And make this into a bedroom?

0:24:500:24:53

Make it a bedroom. You haven't seen it all yet, though.

0:24:530:24:57

Hold your hat on.

0:24:570:24:58

The kitchen is bigger than the last one.

0:25:020:25:04

Yes, it is big, isn't it?

0:25:040:25:06

There's a larder through there, a pantry.

0:25:060:25:09

It is a nice cosy place.

0:25:090:25:11

This room is.

0:25:110:25:13

To say the rest of the house is right regal, this is right cottagey.

0:25:130:25:18

-Well, upstairs is regal again.

-Right.

-Let's have a look at that.

0:25:180:25:22

Space is all-important for Susan and Michael.

0:25:230:25:26

Regal or not, the dimensions of this house are perfect for their needs.

0:25:260:25:30

Upstairs, the rooms don't disappoint.

0:25:300:25:32

-You complained about the last room being a bit small.

-Oh, wow!

-Wow.

0:25:370:25:41

That's a nice big room!

0:25:410:25:43

-This is the master bedroom.

-This is double the size.

0:25:430:25:46

-This is nice. You've got a whole system of the original bells.

-Yeah?

0:25:460:25:50

-It rings in the kitchen.

-That's ideal.

-Oh, God.

0:25:500:25:53

Where's my tea, Susan?

0:25:530:25:56

My tea!

0:25:560:25:58

Tea and toast in the morning!

0:25:580:26:00

There are four more tastefully decorated bedrooms on this level.

0:26:020:26:06

The smallest is currently used as a library.

0:26:060:26:10

There's also a family bathroom

0:26:100:26:11

and on the other side of the kitchen is more space ripe for development.

0:26:110:26:15

-Come through into the Victorian wing!

-Wow!

0:26:170:26:22

This is historically the more modern wing, but it's in a bit of disrepair.

0:26:220:26:27

-This would be a project.

-Yeah.

0:26:270:26:30

Above here, you've got two good-sized bedrooms.

0:26:300:26:32

Let's go outside. I know that's important too.

0:26:320:26:35

This is the back door.

0:26:350:26:37

Apart from the grounds at the front of the property,

0:26:380:26:41

there's a secluded garden to the rear.

0:26:410:26:43

-So this is like the secret garden at the back.

-Mmm.

0:26:450:26:48

-It's nice. It's big.

-It is nice, a nice space.

0:26:480:26:51

-Yeah.

-I get the impression you're ambivalent about this property.

0:26:510:26:55

But to make a decision, you need to know the price. What do you think?

0:26:550:26:59

For me, because I see it as the lord of the manor house,

0:26:590:27:02

I would definitely say top of the range, so 550 definitely.

0:27:020:27:06

I wouldn't. I'd go about 530.

0:27:060:27:09

-Does that reflect the fact that you're not so keen on it?

-Maybe.

0:27:090:27:12

Cos you're right. It's actually top of your budget at 550.

0:27:120:27:16

But have a walk around inside. See if it's at all workable.

0:27:160:27:19

-We'll see where we go from there.

-Yeah.

-OK.

0:27:190:27:22

But will the regal character of the property be a problem for Susan and Michael?

0:27:390:27:44

This room could be made into a nice big enough bedroom.

0:27:440:27:48

-Oh, yeah.

-If that were a French door, we could get her out onto the garden.

0:27:480:27:52

It isn't me, you know what I mean.

0:27:520:27:55

The house, it is nice, it's a lovely property.

0:27:550:27:58

I think this house is too grand for us.

0:27:580:28:01

We wouldn't feel right. I wouldn't want people to think that we were showing off.

0:28:010:28:07

Regal house, regal gates.

0:28:070:28:09

I love that!

0:28:090:28:11

You don't have to make any decisions. It's the end of our first day.

0:28:110:28:14

-Let's go home and reconsider what we've seen.

-Yeah.

0:28:140:28:17

-We've always got the mystery house tomorrow.

-Yeah.

-Right.

0:28:170:28:21

As twilight plays upon the midges,

0:28:300:28:32

Susan and Michael have plenty to consider

0:28:320:28:34

after their first day of house-hunting.

0:28:340:28:37

So far, we've shown lottery winners Michael and Susan

0:28:410:28:44

two fantastic properties in the Scottish Borders.

0:28:440:28:47

-I wouldn't change a thing out here.

-No.

0:28:470:28:51

But next up, it's the mystery house

0:28:510:28:53

and for a couple not keen on a project, the results are rather surprising.

0:28:530:28:57

Wow!

0:28:570:28:59

It's still enough of a big room to get my 60-inch TV in.

0:28:590:29:02

The mist is clearing over the Scottish Borders

0:29:060:29:08

on the second day of our property hunt for our lottery winners

0:29:080:29:12

but yesterday I realised that Michael and Susan are not looking for a big showy house

0:29:120:29:16

to reflect their wealth. They just want a home where the family can come together.

0:29:160:29:21

And the mystery house gives them the space of the second house

0:29:210:29:24

but with the views of the first.

0:29:240:29:26

But they're going to have to do some work on it. Will they rise to that particular challenge?

0:29:260:29:32

Today our mystery property lies east of Jedburgh

0:29:350:29:38

in the village of Ettrickbridge.

0:29:380:29:40

Originally named Kirkhope after the 16th-century tower house built by the marauder Walter Scott of Harden,

0:29:400:29:47

its current name is derived from the village bridge over Ettrick Water.

0:29:470:29:51

Today, this peaceful village sits like a picture under Kirkhope Hill.

0:29:510:29:56

Yesterday, Susan and Michael were thrown by the daunting decor in our second property.

0:29:560:30:01

Today, they won't have that problem.

0:30:010:30:04

Here we are.

0:30:050:30:06

This big chunk of Scottish property is the mystery house.

0:30:060:30:11

-That's lovely.

-That's nice.

0:30:110:30:13

-Beautiful, isn't it?

-It's big.

-Really nice.

0:30:130:30:15

It's massive. What do you think about the surroundings?

0:30:150:30:18

-Absolutely wonderful.

-The views are beautiful.

0:30:180:30:21

-Absolutely lovely. You couldn't ask for anything better.

-Right.

0:30:210:30:25

-It's a classic 1880s stone farmhouse.

-Yeah.

0:30:250:30:30

-Very solidly built.

-It is lovely.

0:30:300:30:33

What do you think the mystery is?

0:30:330:30:35

I've no idea.

0:30:350:30:37

Do tell!

0:30:370:30:39

The mystery begins with R.

0:30:390:30:41

-Renovation.

-Right.

0:30:430:30:45

Here we go.

0:30:450:30:47

Here we go, indeed!

0:30:470:30:49

Michael and Susan said they were open to anything but a project!

0:30:490:30:53

Come on in.

0:30:570:30:59

As you can see, it's empty.

0:31:010:31:03

-Yep.

-Right.

0:31:030:31:05

But that's kind of good in the sense that you can the proportions.

0:31:050:31:09

-Yeah. You've not got somebody else's furniture distracting you.

-That was a stumbler yesterday.

0:31:090:31:15

-Hallway's big, isn't it?

-It's lovely.

-The front room.

0:31:150:31:20

Wow!

0:31:200:31:22

-I absolutely love these windows.

-Yeah.

0:31:220:31:24

-Absolutely great.

-I'm glad you're saying wow!

0:31:240:31:28

I thought it could be an "eugh" house!

0:31:280:31:30

-It isn't.

-No, actually, it's absolutely gorgeous.

0:31:300:31:33

Cos it's empty, you see more of it.

0:31:330:31:35

Our corner couches would go in here lovely. Absolutely lovely.

0:31:350:31:40

Both of you are so gung-ho! I love it.

0:31:400:31:42

-But it is gorgeous.

-Visionaries.

0:31:420:31:44

The other one's just as big.

0:31:440:31:47

I really like this room. The same proportions, but with a different feel.

0:31:490:31:53

Yeah. Same again with the big windows.

0:31:530:31:55

It's enough of a big room to get my 60-inch TV in!

0:31:550:32:00

Either that room or this room.

0:32:000:32:02

On the left of the stairs is a study that could be a third reception room.

0:32:020:32:07

This is where the renovations start to get a bit more obvious.

0:32:100:32:13

-Yes.

-Yeah.

0:32:130:32:15

-Here's the kitchen.

-Yep. It is a big kitchen, though.

0:32:150:32:18

It is, yeah.

0:32:180:32:20

I actually think, once you get over the shock of it not being a fitted kitchen,

0:32:200:32:25

this could be a lovely, big, country, family kitchen.

0:32:250:32:30

-Massive wooden table.

-A big table in the middle.

0:32:300:32:33

Loads of work surface and cupboards.

0:32:330:32:37

Adjacent to the kitchen is a selection of rooms

0:32:370:32:40

that could be converted into a bedroom and wet room for Susan's disabled sister.

0:32:400:32:45

Upstairs, there are five bedrooms in this section of the house.

0:32:460:32:50

I love this bedroom cos you get the other views of the mountainside, or hillside in a different light.

0:32:520:32:59

-Nice windows again.

-You seem to be giving a thumbs up to this house.

0:32:590:33:03

-It feels a lot more homely.

-It does,

0:33:030:33:06

cos house two yesterday, the ceilings were right up there. And these are down here.

0:33:060:33:11

-It makes you feel more at home.

-The lower ceilings.

-This feels cosy.

0:33:110:33:15

There's also a dual aspect double and three further bedrooms to sleep the rest of the family.

0:33:150:33:20

Other than that, there's a good-sized family bathroom on this side of the house.

0:33:200:33:26

Above the kitchen wing, there are two more bedrooms.

0:33:260:33:29

But we're heading outside, where the riverside garden opens up

0:33:290:33:33

to a total of seven acres of woodland and paddocks.

0:33:330:33:37

It's a handsome looking property.

0:33:370:33:40

You've also got all the land down here, to the lovely dry stone wall.

0:33:400:33:44

Oh, right.

0:33:440:33:45

There's a courtyard garden at the back.

0:33:450:33:48

So there's plenty of land.

0:33:480:33:49

-Plenty of land.

-Loads.

-Loads.

0:33:490:33:51

What do you think it's worth? What do you think it's on the market for?

0:33:510:33:56

I'd still say 500,000.

0:33:560:33:58

Because of how the house is built, and the land.

0:33:580:34:02

I'd say about 570.

0:34:020:34:05

570.

0:34:050:34:07

This property is on the market for offers around £450,000.

0:34:070:34:12

-Wow!

-That's good. That is very good.

0:34:120:34:15

-You would have £100,000 to do what you wanted to do.

-That's great.

0:34:150:34:19

Go and look round the grand house and see if it would work. I'll see you at the front.

0:34:190:34:24

I'm cautiously enthusiastic about their positive reaction to the mystery house.

0:34:260:34:31

It's well under budget at £450,000.

0:34:310:34:34

The question is, will the wildlife win out over the work that needs to be done?

0:34:450:34:50

Michael loves land.

0:34:500:34:52

And Michael loves wildlife and everything.

0:34:520:34:55

Which this has got because it leads down to the river.

0:34:550:34:58

-Nicest thing about this is, we can have actually three living rooms.

-Yeah.

0:34:580:35:02

-The two big main rooms.

-Yeah.

0:35:020:35:06

-This is a spare living room.

-Yeah.

0:35:060:35:08

We're not all on top of each other then.

0:35:080:35:10

We did say we didn't want to renovate.

0:35:100:35:13

Obviously, we know there is a lot of work.

0:35:130:35:15

But I really seriously think

0:35:150:35:17

that Susan will like it and I honestly think she'll enjoy putting her finishing touches to it.

0:35:170:35:23

I'll have to drag you out of the mystery house!

0:35:240:35:26

-Just pull the door to, Michael.

-Yeah.

0:35:270:35:30

OK. Seen all three houses.

0:35:300:35:32

Let's find somewhere to sit down and contemplate.

0:35:320:35:35

-Yep.

-See what happens next.

-Definitely.

0:35:350:35:38

No trip to the Borders would be complete

0:35:450:35:48

without visiting the house of one of Scotland's favourite sons.

0:35:480:35:51

There are few literary names more closely aligned with Scotland than Sir Walter Scott

0:35:510:35:56

and his home, Abbotsford House, stands testament to this remarkable Scottish writer.

0:35:560:36:02

After spending his childhood in the Borders,

0:36:020:36:05

Scott came back in later life to build this house in 1824.

0:36:050:36:09

Much like his writing, the house blends the modern with the historic

0:36:090:36:13

and went on to influence the architecture of the time.

0:36:130:36:16

To tell me more, I'm meeting Janette McWhinney,

0:36:160:36:19

who came to work here for just two weeks

0:36:190:36:21

and stayed for 30 years!

0:36:210:36:23

It's a mish-mash of styles. Was this the style of building at that time?

0:36:230:36:29

Not really. As I say, a slightly fairytale castle, a conundrum castle, as it's called.

0:36:290:36:34

-Conundrum castle - is that its name?

-Yes.

0:36:340:36:37

But it's basically Scottish baronial style, some of it.

0:36:370:36:42

Scottish baronial is part of the Gothic revival movement of the 19th century.

0:36:440:36:49

Abbotsford House is widely cited as being one of the originals in this architectural style.

0:36:490:36:55

Inside, the walls are adorned with artefacts that represent influences in Scott's life.

0:36:550:37:01

This is Sir Walter's entrance hall

0:37:010:37:03

with his collection of weapons and armour.

0:37:030:37:06

And pieces from all over the world, basically.

0:37:060:37:09

Was this a genuine passion of his or was it more a fashion thing?

0:37:090:37:13

-It looks quite Gothic.

-No, it was a passion of his.

0:37:130:37:16

He wanted to be a soldier, but because of his illness

0:37:160:37:19

he wasn't able to partake in a military career.

0:37:190:37:22

After suffering childhood polio, he started writing

0:37:220:37:26

and became internationally renowned for the Waverley Novels, including Rob Roy and Ivanhoe.

0:37:260:37:31

But Scott was also a patriot.

0:37:310:37:33

As such he was fundamental in preserving the Scottish pound,

0:37:330:37:37

rejuvenating the kilt

0:37:370:37:39

and rehabilitating interest in the traditions of Scottish Highland culture.

0:37:390:37:44

Even Waverley, Edinburgh's main train station

0:37:440:37:47

is named after one of his novels.

0:37:470:37:49

And it was in his study that many of his later works were penned.

0:37:490:37:53

This is Sir Walter Scott's study.

0:37:530:37:56

So this is where he wrote?

0:37:560:37:58

This is his writing desk here, yes.

0:37:580:38:01

-This is where all the hard work was done.

-He was a worker, wasn't he?

0:38:010:38:05

-He was.

-He shifted.

-Yes, he did.

0:38:050:38:07

He had to work very hard for the last six years of his life.

0:38:070:38:10

'When the printing company that he part-owned collapsed,

0:38:100:38:14

'he chose to write his way out of debt.

0:38:140:38:18

'As a workaholic, even into his twilight years, Scott did just that.

0:38:180:38:22

'The shelves in his study contain 2,000 books,

0:38:220:38:25

'but it's next door in his library that his passion for the written word becomes clear,

0:38:250:38:31

'with a further 7,000,

0:38:310:38:33

'said to be the largest private collection in Scotland.'

0:38:330:38:37

-It's an incredible selection of books.

-It is.

0:38:370:38:39

All languages. English, French, Latin,

0:38:390:38:42

Italian, German, Spanish.

0:38:420:38:44

Sir Walter could read all of these languages and said he could speak a little of most of them.

0:38:440:38:49

Incredible. It's fascinating to me that he was such a literary figure in his time,

0:38:490:38:55

so famous around the world,

0:38:550:38:57

and yet now he's more of a national figure.

0:38:570:38:59

He's more to do with being Scottish than being a writer.

0:38:590:39:03

Yes, because he did so many other things for Scotland, other than his writing.

0:39:030:39:09

And his writing did make Scotland, basically. He was Mr Scotland for tourism.

0:39:090:39:15

It's been really fascinating. It's lovely to see the house because it sums him up beautifully.

0:39:150:39:21

-It's a great...

-It's a wonderful house. It's worth coming to visit the house to get the whole...

0:39:210:39:26

-Definitely.

-..story.

-It's a real treat.

0:39:260:39:29

Thank you.

0:39:290:39:31

It's difficult to stop anywhere in the Scottish borders without it looking so beautiful.

0:39:380:39:43

We're off to see whether Michael and Susan were swayed by the mystery house

0:39:430:39:47

or whether it's neck and neck with the first house. Let's see.

0:39:470:39:50

This is a big, big move for you

0:39:550:39:58

on all sorts of levels.

0:39:580:39:59

It's been wonderful showing you round. You had strong opinions about the first one and the second

0:39:590:40:05

and now the mystery house. Tell me what you felt about each one.

0:40:050:40:08

Let's talk about the first house. That seemed like a winner.

0:40:080:40:11

I absolutely loved the first house.

0:40:110:40:14

There's nothing about it that I do not like.

0:40:140:40:17

It was smallish. They were cottage rooms,

0:40:170:40:21

but we could have been happy in there even though the rooms were a bit small.

0:40:210:40:26

But I think we could have been happy.

0:40:260:40:28

The second house had less land, but it was much grander.

0:40:280:40:31

-It was grand, and it was too grand for me.

-Yeah.

0:40:310:40:35

Can you put your finger on what made the grandness difficult to live with?

0:40:350:40:39

Even though they were huge, plenty of space, having such a big family,

0:40:390:40:43

-the ceilings were so high you just felt...

-Yeah.

0:40:430:40:47

It just didn't feel like a room.

0:40:470:40:49

-No.

-A ballroom.

-Yeah.

0:40:490:40:52

The mystery house was also big. They were big rooms.

0:40:520:40:56

Yeah, but back again to the ceilings, the ceilings were low.

0:40:560:40:59

So they made it feel comfortable

0:40:590:41:01

and made it feel homely.

0:41:010:41:03

And, like you say, the house is as big as the second house

0:41:030:41:07

-but I think it just looked more homely.

-Yeah, it does.

0:41:070:41:12

-It looks like a house.

-Yeah.

-When I said it needed renovation, I thought you were going to punch me!

0:41:120:41:18

So I was wondering if you thought there was too much renovation?

0:41:180:41:22

Um, there is a lot of renovation to do,

0:41:220:41:26

but it's not knocking it down and rebuilding it.

0:41:260:41:29

I think putting our finishing touches to that house

0:41:290:41:32

it would be our house as a family then

0:41:320:41:35

and I seriously think we would enjoy it more.

0:41:350:41:39

It's down to us. We've done it.

0:41:390:41:41

So the mystery house has edged ahead?

0:41:410:41:43

-Yeah.

-For me it has, and definitely...

-What about you?

0:41:430:41:46

My heart is telling me number one.

0:41:460:41:49

But my head is saying the mystery house.

0:41:490:41:53

Oh. So what happens next? How do you plan to proceed?

0:41:530:41:58

-I think we need to bring Jamie and Josh.

-Definitely bring the boys up.

0:41:580:42:02

-Obviously they're a big part in it.

-Just see what their take is on it

0:42:020:42:06

before we actually make a final decision.

0:42:060:42:09

Wonderful.

0:42:090:42:11

I can't wait to hear your news.

0:42:110:42:13

You're going to get remarried, which is wonderful.

0:42:130:42:16

It's been a real joy showing you around because you're so positive

0:42:160:42:20

and there's so much good vibes around the two of you.

0:42:200:42:23

Wherever you live, it'll be a lovely home,

0:42:230:42:26

but I really hope sincerely that you find one of these will fit the bill.

0:42:260:42:30

-Thank you very much.

-Thank you.

0:42:300:42:32

Oh, who isn't going to be cheering from the sidelines

0:42:370:42:41

as Michael and Susan renew their vows, then head back to the Scottish Borders with their extended family.

0:42:410:42:47

I can't think of two more deserving lottery winners.

0:42:470:42:50

If you'd like more heart-warming stories of rural relocation,

0:42:500:42:54

make sure you join us next time for more Escape to the Country.

0:42:540:42:58

Michael and Susan are happy to report

0:43:010:43:04

they've renewed their wedding vows

0:43:040:43:06

and are looking forward to taking the boys to view the first property.

0:43:060:43:10

If you'd like to escape to the country in Northern Ireland, Wales,

0:43:100:43:13

Scotland or England, and need our help,

0:43:130:43:15

please apply online:

0:43:150:43:17

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:440:43:47

Alistair Appleton dons a kilt as he goes property-hunting in the Scottish Borders for a couple of lottery winners who are seeking a family home with a budget of 550,000 pounds. But will the regal splendour of an 18th-century vicarage prove too much? Alistair also visits the home of one of Scotland's most famous sons, Sir Walter Scott.