Writing about nature unfortunately requires being in it

As Bob Dylan once wrote “When will it ever end? The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind”.

After another weekend of snow flurries and a bitingly cold east wind, spring looks as far away as ever.

Until we get a change in wind direction, I can see the snow ploughs still about at the Common Riding season.

Sheer desperation for inspiration took me out on Sunday for a walk up the Tweed from the Chain Bridge at Melrose.

Crossing the aforementioned structure was a bit like crossing the Arctic Circle with the wind sandblasting my face until one side was glowing red, before I got to the other side.

Looking upstream I could hardly believe my eyes. Two men were waist deep in the river trying to catch fish. Surely they must have reached their pain threshold and the warmth of the pub beckoned.

Undeterred I soldiered on upstream, eyes streaming, nose dripping, through the bedraggled snowdrops which seemed to be getting shredded by the wind.

Last year at this time it was shorts and T-shirts time on a trip to Oban.

A dipper flew downstream, keeping low above the water to avoid the buffeting and a solitary cormorant was diving in the deep pool above the cauld.

Below the cauld, near the rocks, a female goosander was diving for fish and a group of mallards clung to the shore, dabbling in the shallows.

The people I met were clad for the Eiger with faces covered with scarves and heads inside an array of the most ridiculous woolly hats imaginable.

Even their dogs looked as if they would rather have been in front of the fire.

After about fifteen minutes of sheer torture, I decided enough was enough and about-turned.

Heading into the wind, the return journey was even worse, but at least the other side of my face got blasted this time recrossing the bridge.

Amazingly, the two anglers were still at it, with the snow-clad Eildons providing a bizarre backdrop.

I can honestly say it was the coldest I have felt all winter and a hot coffee and a plate of sandwiches at the Ship afterwards was an absolute ­lifesaver.

Let’s hope by next week I’ll have some proper spring harbingers to report.

email: corbie@homecall.co.uk