This month marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Jim Clark, much loved Scottish racing driver. As someone whose driving history takes in a Fiat Panda (Mrs RM), Ford Pop Plus and Toyota Aygo, you’ll surmise I’m no petrol-head, though I have aspirations towards an electric self-driving car that will allow me to complete the Highlands pubs.


Last week I stopped in Duns, home of the Jim Clark Museum, which was busily engaged in fielding enquiries from the Mainstream Media about opening hours, photography permissions, WiFi and the availability of Prosecco for visiting reporters. I may get shot for sneaking the photo at the top.

The museum is getting an upgrade over the next year, mainly adding actual cars to what at the moment is an engaging collection of racetrack memorabilia.

But Duns is more than Jim. It’s a handsome stone town, with the smell of real fires and hot cross buns from the ubiquitous Co-op, and the rare sight of front doors left open to welcome in a rarer bit of Scottish sunshine.

Golden stone

It’s a place that no doubt gets a fair few visitors from Berwick, propping up some colourful pubs and cafes.

One of several Chinese takeaways
Not sampled

I had the company of an unofficial tour guide (below) for some of my walk, which took all of 20 minutes waiting for the Black Bull to open.

Town trail

The town mascot is a bear commemorating the role of Polish forces in the Second World War, a charming touch.

Don’t drop it !

There’s more hairdressers and Chinese takeaways than pubs these days, and my previous Duns tick (the Whip) looks a little sad now, but the Black Bull opens at 11am prompt, if only for me. I love a busy blackboard outside a pub.

Black Bull
11am opener !

You get two types of bar signage here.

Blue Peter competition winner
Signage spoilt by dogs policy note

About as traditional a front bar as you’ll get, with two local beers I guess aren’t selling like hot cakes. The Tempest Cascadian is decent but lacks a little sparkle (NBSS 3)


The sparkle comes from the barmaid and two boys who tip up at 11.10, surprised to see I’ve beat them, and settle in at the bar with the Tennents. Actually, that’s unfair. You can see one of them was on his way home with the Co-op bag. Eventually.

19 thoughts on “DUNS GEARS UP

  1. “though I have aspirations towards an electric self-driving car that will allow me to complete the Highlands pubs.”

    Can’t think of a better reason to get one then that. 🙂

    “with the smell of real fires and hot cross buns from the ubiquitous Co-op,”

    Hopefully the smell of real fires isn’t due to the hot cross buns being on fire! 😉

    “You can see one of them was on his way home with the Co-op bag.”

    Probably got a bargain on those burnt hot cross buns. 🙂


    PS – “looks a little sadnow”

    Is sadnow a Scottish word? 😉


    1. Sadnow is a traditional Scottish word for how you feel when you get up in the morning and open the curtains to see thick grey cloud and rain like stair-rods for the 47th day in a row.
      Or how RM feels when he falls asleep in his shiny new self-drive car and realises that it has been trying to take him to the Old Forge for six hours.
      Happynow is not a Scottish word.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Too true…love this bit…
      ‘A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “We were called regarding a concern for a group of people on Sunday at around 19.00. Inquiries were carried out, along with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and they were all traced safe and well at around midnight.”’

      That’s ok then… ‘traced’ 5 hours later…and safe and well …and then the police made sure they weren’t safe or well by transporting them back to the mainland and leaving them to sleep in their police vandalised car?

      Planet Police Scotland eh?? Goodness knows what would have happened if the pub owner who found Martin through the wrong door and in their private room, had thought he was a burglar and called the police – it probably would have turned into a major hostage situation…

      …Tom Sharpe ( ) couldn’t have wished for a better plot for a book…

      …pub tickers beware…but don’t have nightmares….;)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for including that statue of the “mascot bear”– always nice to come across such one-of-a-kind things, and to learn the stories behind them.

    Also loved the comparison photos of the two BAR signs. That handmade one looks as if it were colored with “GBG ticking” markers. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Enjoyed reading your post & appreciate the mention but please in future ask the bar staff if they are happy for their photo to be taken & published online. Generally I refuse so I am happy to move out of the way for you. Kind Regards, Barmaid from the Bull.


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