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Saturday, 24 November 2012

An autumn walk by Tweed

Well, before autumn is completely gone and winter takes over, I must tell you about probably the first Tweed walk I’ve done this year!  No, surely not the first, though it does seem a very long time since I walked that way.  It was actually about the end of October, one of the few reasonable days we had had, when I decided to take the long route round to Morag’s house.   autumn walkagain 002 That meant crossing Tweed Bridge, stopping to take a picture of Neidpath Castle in the distance upriver, beyond the cauld or weir, and one of the silted up island that has gradually formed over the last 40 years or so just above the bridge.autumn walkagain 001

Turning right I walked down the slope to the path by the river. looking over to the 18th century parish church . parish.bridge,trust  It’s such a photogenic building, and I like to find different views of it – hence the two pictures, the second from a bit further along the path…..parish.tree

Tweed BridgeI could also look back at the bridge with its plaque on the parapet to say it was widened in MDCCCXXXIV (1834) by public subscription.   I think that was the last time it was widened.  Now traffic has again increased to a point when something else has to be done.  This time the bridge won’t be widened, but a new bridge will be built probably somewhere downriver so as to retain the current view of Tweed Bridge and the Green, and also to serve the expanding town to the east, south of the river.  I read recently that the council have managed to shortlist three possible  locations for the new bridge, but only one is necessary so how long will it take till the decision is made, I wonder.swimming pool

Here’s another picture of one of the autumnal trees, possibly the same one as above but to the other side of it.  The present building is the swimming pool, built about 30 years ago on the site of the old mills – dating back centuries from flour mill, to the more recent woollen mill, that burnt down in the 1960s.  tweed path    



autumn Tweed 016




The sun shone through the trees as I continued on my way, and the reflections on the river to my right were wonderful.  fotheringham bridge I kept on alongside the river till Fotheringham foot bridge came into view.  This is where I’d cross the river and begin the walk back to Peebles.   from fotheringham bridge

The view from the bridge is beautiful.  I’ve photographed the parish church from here so often. The colours of autumn really enhance the view, especially this year.  The path veers away from the river slightly, to take walkers into the park, but I like to stick by the waterlee penside.  Getting nearer to the town the road bridge comes into iew again, with the pointed summit of Lee Pen in the background. Pen is an ancient Brythonic word, meaning the top of a hill.  Welsh speakers would recognise the word, as the old language of the area was superceded by English and gradually pushed south and west till it came to a stop in  Wales, gradually evolving into the language the Welsh speak today. steps2 

The steps lead up to a short length of path beside the old Hay Lodge, it being too steep a bank here to have a path running at river level, and at the other end, another flight of steps goes down to the riverside again. leaves Another path goes left up to the main road, and that was the way I took to go to Morag’s house.  autumn Tweed 045 Well, no-one was at home, so back I came to take the other steps, with their wooden railings curving round past my favourite tree – the one that dips its lower branches into the water.tweed reflectionsautumn Tweed 037


Before long the bridge across what is locally known as the Cuddy Burn is in view.  feed the birdsHere is the point where Cuddy meets Tweed, a favourite spot for children to come with their bags of stale bread to feed the ducks and gulls. playing with leaves

My friends and I used to love playing in crunchy dry leaves when we were small, and children still enjoy it today. The little boy has an armful of leaves, which he later threw into the air, for them to flutter back down to earth again all around him.

leaves again 

Another youngster, a little further on, had built a huge pile of leaves against the low wall beside the swimming pool.  (That low wall was probably part of the old woollen mill.)  There’s Tweed Bridge in the distance.  As you get nearer, the path veers under the second arch to the Green. under the arch This arch does sometimes get flooded when the water is in spate, but things have to be pretty bad before the  first arch on this side of the river gets water flowing beneath it.  Even the ground below the third arch  is sometimes almost dry, the river mainly flowing through the last two. 

I continued along the slabbed path, passed the Rotary Club’s Wishing Well, priorsford bridge and took a last couple of photos of the Green  - Priorsford Bridge, and the old Putting Green pavilion. The Pav My route would take me up an old pathway between gardens to the High Street again and from there it wasn’t far for me to go to get home.  I had made it round two of the three bridges.  Not bad!

Talk again soon.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Benmore Botanic Gardens

Heavens above!  I hadn’t realised it has been so long since I wrote about the Gaelic Mod!  Life is just so full of busy!

Well then, after the massed choirs event in Dunoon, Rena and I headed off in the car alongside Holy Loch and on to Benmore Gardens, one of three outlying gardens of the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens.  benmore autumn trees Parking the car in the carpark we were already being treated to the beautiful colours of autumn, and sitting in the tearoom having a bowl of soup for lunch we could see  more of the colours waiting for us in the gardens. bemore garden entrance

It was a lovely afternoon, as we walked towards the bridge over the river, the Eachaig, and into the gardens, with views of the hills round about.benmore


benmore from the island




There were lots of reds and yellows in the trees and bushes, and a fair scattering of russets and browns too.   It was just beautiful!  There was so much to see, but we didn’t have time to get all round the gardens.  benmore reflections The pond wasn’t so far from the entrance, so we walked round it, stopping to look at the water and the reflections. 

benmore autumn tadpoles

We even spotted tadpoles - really!  I took a photo to prove it!!   The water’s not too clear but you can see two of them. I’ve tried to find out about tadpoles still alive in the middle of October – with no success!  We tend to see them in springtime rather than autumn. 

benmore autumn colours From the point where we saw the tadpoles we could look on to the island   another mass of reds and yellows – benmore boy and dolphin and across the loch to the fountain – a boy and a dolphin.  Very cute!

bemore bridge to island Further round the loch a rustic wooden bridge led to the island which of course we were interested enough to cross.benmore bridge and of course we could look through branches to the fountain again. benmore fountain and maples

I just couldn’t get the exact view I wanted. Even just a step to the left, and the tree trunk blocked the view of the fountain altogether.

benmore island

In the other direction the reflections were  beautiful.benmore out of the woods

Then we took the path to through the trees to reach the large castellated house called Benmore Lodge, an “outdoor training centre” for school children.  benmore house They go rafting, hillwalking, orienteering, rock climbing, canoeing… but their accommodation is in the splendid looking castle.

From the track we had just followed, other tracks led off, some going uphill for great views of the Benmore Estate no doubt, but time was pressing on and we still had a couple of hours of homeward journey to go once we took the ferry from Hunters Quay to Gourock, so we crossed in front of the Lodge and followed the path , past more autumnal trees, and past steps to higher points of the gardens, back to the entrance.benmore steps benmore near fountain   

We were in dire need of a thirst-quenching and warming cup of tea by this time, so headed once more for the tearoom and a quick cuppa.  Then it was time to leave.  We were in good time for the next ferry across a very calm Firth of Clyde, and before we knew it we were back on the road through Greenock and Port Glasgow to re-cross the River Clyde by the Kingston Bridge and continue on our way through Glasgow on the motorway back to Edinburgh.

What a good day we had had!

Talk again soon.