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Hawick is a small town in the Scottish Borders, midway along the historic route from Carlisle to Edinburgh. It's pronounced hoick, one syllable, like the act of kicking a rugby ball high into the air. Several townsfolk have proved adept at doing so but Hawick's best-loved contributor to rugby, Bill McLaren (1923-2010), found fame as a commentator after illness ended his playing career. The town was also the birthplace in 1940 of the yachtsman Chay Blyth.
Hawick grew up as a textile town on the River Teviot, which flows northeast to join the Tweed. From linen it moved on to knitware, first practical tweeds then high-end cashmere and merino. This enabled it to survive the 20th century decline of the UK textile industry, but in recent years the luxury trade has also collapsed, and the town lost major employers such as Pringle. Other Border towns have been boosted by the re-opening of the railway, becoming commuter towns for Edinburgh, but Hawick is too far out to benefit. The main reason to come is to explore the hills and forests above the town.

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