Tales from the Tweed walk

Tales from the Tweed hikers Ross Winter, baby Taliesin and Sophia Collins
Tales from the Tweed hikers Ross Winter, baby Taliesin and Sophia Collins

A couple and their young baby started walking the length of the River Tweed at the weekend.

Edinburgh-based science engagement specialist Sophie Collins, sound engineer Ross Winter and their seven-week old baby Taliesin left Tweedswell on Sunday to hike the 97-miles along the river banks to Berwick-upon-Tweed.

The family will stop along the way and put on events in village halls, pubs, museums and schools, which will feature traditional storytelling and talks from Tweed experts, followed by a ‘story sharing’ session when the audience tell their own tales about the river.

Originally from Nottingham, Sophia, 42, a pharmacology graduate with an MSc in science communication, encourages better communication between scientists and non-scientists.

She explained: “The whole idea of walking from the source of a river to the mouth seems so mythical.

“So much of our lives are spent doing mundane things – we go to the supermarket and buy stuff. Walking from one end of a river to the other is what people do in fairy stories. Storytelling, traditional folklore, is how people originally tried to answer questions about the world around them.

“For example, why is that mountain there? Now the way we try to answer these questions is by geology or ecology, it’s science and academic, but there are different ways of answering questions and I wanted to bring these different perspectives together, when hopefully the story tellers and scientists will gain something hearing each others’ perspectives.”

Ross, originally from north Yorkshire, said: “I like the idea that the river has seen so much history and has always been a place that people are drawn to, a thing that connects people together.”

Funding for the project has come from Imagining Natural Scotland which awarded grants of up to £10,000 for projects promoting “knowledge exchange between the creative and scientific sectors”.

The challenges include Taliesin, but said Sophia: “He’s a really well behaved baby. He goes in the sling and sleeps quite well. We are looking forward to doing this as a little family and having an adventure together, and it’s also a challenge getting people along to our events and making them entertaining.”

The pair walked the River Trent, covering 185 miles in three weeks, last year.

They plan five events this week, with the next taking place at 2pm at Dawyck Botanic Garden’s studio tomorrow. For more information visit http://talesfromthetweed.beltanenetwork.org/