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. 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.
Turning right I walked down the slope to the path by the river. looking over to the 18th century parish church . 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…..
I 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.
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.
The sun shone through the trees as I continued on my way, and the reflections on the river to my right were wonderful. 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.
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 waterside. 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.
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. Another path goes left up to the main road, and that was the way I took to go to Morag’s house. 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.
Before long the bridge across what is locally known as the Cuddy Burn is in view. Here 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.
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.
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. 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, and took a last couple of photos of the Green - Priorsford Bridge, and the old Putting Green pavilion. 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.