The characteristic Borders structure Smailholm Tower stands uncompromisingly on top of a barren, rocky ridge in the hills south of Mellerstain. The 16th-century peel was built solely for defense, and its unadorned stones contrast with the luxury of Mellerstain House. If you let your imagination wander in this windy spot, you can almost see the flapping pennants and rising dust of an advancing raiding party and hear the anxious securing of doors and bolts. Sir Walter Scott
found this spot inspiring. His grandfather lived nearby, and the young Scott visited the tower often during his childhood. A museum displays costumed figures and tapestries relating to Scott's folk ballads. A free audio tour is available.