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Smailholm: a towering influence

Updated: May 17

Much of The Trail of Blood is set in and around the fictional Black Rig. It’s a classic Border peel tower: a unique structure, characteristic to the region. There are countless examples in the area, dotted in between the castles, bastle houses and other fortified dwellings. But I mostly took my inspiration from the one at Smailholm. Imagine Antoine and his band of men arriving at a place as bleak as this, after a hard ride over the Lammermuirs, only to discover it had been wrecked by the previous owners…

Woodcut of Smailholm Tower, near Kelso, Scottish Borders

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