Tuesday, August 27, 2019

AUGUST IN PAXTON AND THE BORDERS

I often feel summer in the Scottish Borders begins to wane somewhere between the 5th and 10th of August, when nearly three and a half months of long, light nights (visibility almost up to 22.45 pm at peak times) suddenly start to dramatically draw in and we sometimes get three weeks of cool, grey skies before the blue skies and fresher air of early September heralds the beginning of autumn. While August is still a comparatively sticky month, in the Borders, we do not get anywhere near the levels of humidity that London and the South-East of England are afflicted by during the same period. There are a few delightfully warm, blue sky days, though, but a couple of them are soon tempered by a cooler, fresher day to follow.

The lawns are still lush and green, fed well by August’s intermittent soft summer rain and the hollyhocks and late clematis are in bloom. The hydrangeas are only just coming into bloom. Dahlias and fuchscias are still healthy, although, just like further south, the hanging baskets are starting to droop as each week passes.

We tend to stop filling our bird feeders for a few months in high summer, as the gardens birds feed off bugs, midges and worms as opposed to endless peanuts and dried mealworm. The ubiquitous starlings are still around, of course, but lots of other garden birds are making their presence felt - blue tits, great tits, sparrows and siskins - while swallows and house martins are nesting under the houses’ eaves and constantly swooping around. 

Our cats are loving the warm weather during this period, spending still nights outside before coming in around 6-7 am and, during the day, finding shady spots under bushes to sleep most of their days away. 

The farm fields have been full of golden hay bales since the beginning of August, what were once green crop-filled fields are now shorn to the ground. The colour of many of the fields is golden a full month before their equivalents  much further south. 

On one of our cycles recently, We saw a roe deer trotting down the side of the road quite happily, keeping sensibly to the edge. Upon seeing us, it scarpered, remarkably performing a standing jump, like a cat, to scale a five foot plus hedge into a nearby copse. 


A nice place to visit in August is the coastal town of Dunbar, particularly on a blue sky day, where the natural red stone of the rocks on the delightful cliff top walk is highlighted beautifully. A walk from the Chain Bridge to Horncliffe along the river is pleasurable, as is an always invigorating walk up Northumberland’s Brough Law.
















Brough Law Hill Fort




Dunbar

Thursday, August 15, 2019

DUNBAR



Dunbar is a small coastal town in East Lothian, Scotland, about 30 miles East of Edinburgh and 29 miles north of Berwick-Upon-Tweed. The town is easily accessible by road via the A1 or by rail. This former royal burgh is the birthplace of John Muir, an explorer, naturalist and influential conservationist. North of the picturesque harbour is the John Muir Country park and a coastal path known as the John Muir Way. At the northern end of the town centre  the ruins of Dunbar Castle proudly overlook the harbour and the sea. 

History
The name Dunbar is derived from the Gaelic word Dùn Barra, meaning "summit fort". The town dates back to at least the Iron Age with evidence of a an old defensive fort. It is thought that St Cuthbert  was born in Dunbar in 634 and worked as a shepherd before becoming a monk in Melrose. Dunbar was originally part of Northumbria but after the battle of Carham in 1018 when Lothian was ceded Malcolm II the town was finally acknowledged as part of Scotland. 

In 1072 Dunbar was included in a land grant by Malcolm III to his cousin  the exiled Earl ofGospatric of Northumbria. The grant included Dunbar and an extensive area of East Lothian and Berwickshire. The Gospatric family founded the family of Dunbar, the head of the house filling the position of Earls of Dunbar and March. Gospatric built the first stone castle in Dunbar and the town steadily grew becoming a royal burgh in 1370. 

Both the Castle and Town were fought over by both England and Scotland and although the castle withstood many sieges the town was frequently burnt. Although the castle was deliberately destroyed in 1568 the town continued to flourish and both a fishing port and agricultural centre. In 1650 the Scottish army were heavily defeated by Olive Cromwell and his parliamentary army in the "Battle of Dunbar". In the nineteenth century the town became a popular holiday and golfing resort, becoming famous for its "bracing air". 


























Dunbar Castle
Although a stronghold existed from at least the ninth century the ruins of Dunbar Castle date from the twelfth century The red stone castle was built by the Earl Gospatric and was one of the strongest fortresses in Scotland. It was built overlooking the town and the sea and although it suffered may sieges the castle never succumbed remaining until it was deliberately destroyed in 1568. 







John Muir Country Park
The John Muir Country Park is an area of woodland, grassland and stunning , rugged  coastline stretching from Dunbar to Tyninghame. The John Muir Way runs through the park on its way to North Berwick and the ruins of Dunbar Castle lie just within the park.
















DUNBAR



Dunbar is a small coastal town in East Lothian, Scotland, about 30 miles East of Edinburgh and 29 miles North of Berwick-Upon-Tweed. Dunbar is about 22 minutes from Berwick-Upon-tweed by train or 30 minutes by road via the A1.This former royal burgh is the birthplace of John Muir, an explorer, naturalist and influential conservationist. North of the picturesque harbour is the John Muir Country park and a coastal path known as the John Muir Way. At the northern end of the town centre  the ruins of Dunbar Castle proudly overlook the harbour and the sea. 

History
The name Dunbar is derived from the Gaelic word Dùn Barra, meaning "summit fort". The town dates back to at least the Iron Age with evidence of a an old defensive fort. It is thought that St Cuthbert  was born in Dunbar in 634 and worked as a shepherd before becoming a monk in Melrose. Dunbar was originally part of Northumbria but after the battle of Carham in 1018 when Lothian was ceded Malcolm II the town was finally acknowledged as part of Scotland.

In 1072 Dunbar was included in a land grant by Malcolm III to his cousin  the exiled Earl Gospatric of Northumbria. The grant included Dunbar and an extensive area of East Lothian and Berwickshire. The Gospatric family founded the family of Dunbar, the head of the house filling the position of Earls of Dunbar and March. Gospatric built the first stone castle in Dunbar and the town steadily grew becoming a royal burgh in 1370. 

Both the Castle and Town were fought over by both England and Scotland and although the castle withstood many sieges the town was frequently burnt. Although the castle was deliberately destroyed in 1568 the town continued to flourish and both a fishing port and agricultural centre. In 1650 the Scottish army were heavily defeated by Olive Cromwell and his parliamentary army in the "Battle of Dunbar". In the nineteenth century the town became a popular holiday and golfing resort, becoming famous for its "bracing air". 
























Dunbar Castle
Although a stronghold existed from at least the ninth century the ruins of Dunbar Castle date from the twelfth century The red stone castle was built by the Earl of Gospatric and was one of the strongest fortresses in Scotland. It was built overlooking the town and the sea and although it suffered may sieges the castle never succumbed remaining until it was deliberately destroyed in 1568. 








John Muir Country Park
The John Muir Country Park is an area of woodland, grassland and stunning , rugged  coastline stretching from Dunbar to Tyninghame. The John Muir Way runs through the park on its way to North Berwick and the ruins of Dunbar Castle lie just within the park.






DUNBAR CASTLE




The ruins of Dunbar Castle are situated on the coast at the northern end of the town of Dunbar in East Lothian and are easily reached by rail by road. Dunbar is about 22 minutes from Berwick-Upon-Tweed by train or 30 minutes by road via the A1.

Although a stronghold existed in Dunbar from at least the ninth century the ruins of Dunbar Castle date from the twelfth century The red stone castle was built by the Earl Gospatric and was one of the strongest fortresses in Scotland. It was built overlooking the town and the sea and although it suffered may sieges the castle never succumbed and remaining standing until 1568. 



In 1457 the castle was dismantled to prevent its occupation by the English but was later restored by James IV. In 1548 the castle was burnt by the Earl of Shrewsbury but between 1550 and 1560 was extended by Marie de Guise, the mother of Mary Queen of Scots. In 1566 Mary fled to the castle after her husband, Lord Darnley instigated the murder of Rizzio at Holyrood Palace. In 1567 Mary returned to the castle with her future husband Bothwell when he allegedly abducted abducted her and forced her into marriage 

In 1567 the Parliament of Scotland ordered the castle to be deliberately destroyed, Little remains of the castle today and although inaccessible the ruins stand proudly above the harbour. 







DUNBAR CASTLE



The ruins of Dunbar Castle are situated on the coast at the northern end of the town of Dunbar in East Lothian and are easily reached by rail by road. Dunbar is about 22 minutes from Berwick-Upon-Tweed by train or 30 minutes by road via the A1.

Although a stronghold existed in Dunbar from at least the ninth century the ruins of Dunbar Castle date from the twelfth century The red stone castle was built by the Earl Gospatric and was one of the strongest fortresses in Scotland. It was built overlooking the town and the sea and although it suffered may sieges the castle never succumbed and remaining standing until 1568. 




In 1457 the castle was dismantled to prevent its occupation by the English but was later restored by James IV. In 1548 the castle was burnt by the Earl of Shrewsbury but between 1550 and 1560 was extended by Marie de Guise, the mother of Mary Queen of Scots. In 1566 Mary fled to the castle after her husband, Lord Darnley instigated the murder of Rizzio at Holyrood Palace. In 1567 Mary returned to the castle with her future husband Bothwell when he allegedly abducted abducted her and forced her into marriage 

In 1567 the Parliament of Scotland ordered the castle to be deliberately destroyed, Little remains of the castle today and although inaccessible the ruins stand proudly above the harbour. 








https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/dunbar/dunbarcastle/index.html

https://www.thecastlesofscotland.co.uk/the-best-castles/feature-articles/dunbar-castle/

Friday, August 09, 2019

RIVER TWEED AND HORNCLIFFE WALK

This pleasant circular walk is about 2 miles and takes you along the banks of the River Tweed to the village of Horncliffe, returning via the Chain Bridge Honey Farm. The walk starts on the Northumberland side of the Union Chain Bridge but there are parking areas on both sides of the river.


River Tweed from the Union Chain Bridge

1. From the bridge start to walk up the hill towards the Honey Farm and turn onto the footpath on the right which will take you along the banks of the river. 



2. Continue along the path before reaching a bench where you can sit and admire the fabulous views of the river and bridge. Follow the path, crossing a small wooden bridge before reaching a gate. 

Footpath


River Tweed and the Union Chain Bridge



3. Pass through the gate but instead of continuing on the path beside the river go through a wooden gate on your left and head across a field to a metal gate at the top. 


Looking Back to the River from the Field. 

4. Go through the gate and cut across the track to an area of woodland opposite with a yellow footpath sign. Follow the path uphill via some steps and on reaching the top turn right. As you follow this path the village of Horncliffe appears ahead of you. Continue along this path until it leads into the village.  Turn left at The Fisher's Arms and follow the road to a junction signposted to Berwick-Upon-Tweed.

The Fisher's Arms


Horncliffe Village

5. Turn left and walk along the road passing a large house on the left. After the house turn left and follow the road downhill past the Honey Farm and view point  to the bridge. 

River and Bridge from the View Point