Ancient Stones
A Guide to Standing Stones & Stone Circles in the South of Scotland.


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022 Piper's Grave, Burntsheil Rig, Moorfoot Hills.

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Description
On the south east boundary of the farm of Dewar can be found the head and footstones of a grave, said to be that of the Piper of Peebles, who collapsed and died there when playing the pipes from Peebles to Lauder for a wager. The head and footstones mentioned above are not obvious at the location but a 0.60m high dressed and modern slab with the words "The Piper's Grave" can be seen by the roadside. There are a few small stones to the rear of this stone but as to whether these are the head and footstones referred to, is not known. Another trip to the area is planned.

Directions
This stone can be seen by the road side on the B709 Innerleithen to Heriot road, on the high ground at Bruntsheil Rig.

Parking
In lay-by beside stone.

Folklore
Tradition tells us that this is the last resting place of an itinerant piper who eked out a meagre living some time early in the 18th century. He was known to frequent the local hostelries taking wagers that he could play any tune that a customer could care to name.

One evening after a bout of particularly riotous jollification, he chanced to remark that he could play non stop all the way between Traquair House and Edinburgh Castle, a distance of some thirty miles, without repeating a tune. This was obviously too credulous for those present to believe and, sensing easy money, virtually everyone took up his offer of a bet. So, late that night, the motley throng set off, high on ale and expectation. Almost immediately some lost heart as the magnitude of their challenge hit them, immediately returning home to the safety of their turf fires. Others however, of sterner composition were determined to follow the piper even into the wilds of the Moorfoot Hills.

It was only as the night grew wilder and the terrain more inhospitable that doubt started to creep in. The piper, obviously at home in this sort of terrain, showed no signs of flagging and, of course, he had no need eventually to retrace his steps back to the start. The whole situation was now becoming serious and subterfuge was necessary. Seizing one of the pipers unguarded moments one of the group made a hole in the windbag of his pipes. The extra effort now required to play, combined with the steep climb past Dewar, quickly drained the pipers stamina. On reaching the top of the pass he sat down exhausted, never to rise again. Here he was buried along with his pipes.

Fieldnotes
The present dressed modern stone may not be the original stone and the original, un-worked stones marking the grave may still exist in the immediate vicinity.

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Quick Info
Type: Named Stone
Nearest Town: Innerleithen
Nearest Village: Heriot
O.S.
Landranger Sheet 73
O.S. Explorer Sheet 337
Grid Reference: NT 3481 4660
GPS Reference: PIPER1

Symbols Key | Stone Types

Other Sites Nearby
005 Standing Stone, Cardrona, Peebles.
015 Coot Stone, Holylee, Walkerburn.

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