At the art of Morebattle

Artist Lindsay Grime with the Morebattle panel
Artist Lindsay Grime with the Morebattle panel

MOREBATTLE village has set up its own information panel for walkers and locals.

The A1 board of information and illustration was organised and commissioned by the local Kalewater community council and set up in the centre of the village last month.

One of the organisers, Paul Grime said: “We’ve had very favourable comments from members of the community. I spoke to a couple of walkers going through and they said it was very nice. It seems to capture the Borders somehow.”

The community project cost £2,500 – funded by a Scottish Borders Council grant and windfarm company Vattenfall – and was created by local artist, Paul’s daughter Lindsay and local writer, Jules Horne. Community councillors Matilda Hall, Paul and Hownam artist Sarah Hargreaves did the research.

The panel shows a plan of the area’s lost Linton Loch, understood to have stretched along the Kale valley dividing Morebattle from Linton.

The board includes a map and covers the Linton and Morebattle churches, Morebattle Games, the legend of the Linton Worm and, at the top, the line of hills visible from the village are depicted along with each peak’s name.

The idea was first mooted a few years ago but last year community councillor Matilde Hall started the ball rolling again.

The group of three councillors worked out what sections of Morebattle history and points to interest to include and drew up a short list of three artists before choosing 24-year-old Lindsay, who gained a first-class degree in illustration at Edinburgh College of Art.

Now working on her own graphic novel in Paris, Lindsay said: “I really enjoyed working on this project, it was great fun to produce these illustrations.”

The panel stands opposite the village shop.

“Hopefully it will be seen by the walkers who come through. Many do the St Cuthberts Way and there was nothing really to tell them where they are and a bit of history of the area – that was one of the main thoughts behind this,” said Paul.

“We’re all very pleased with it.”

The panel tells visitors they are five miles from the English border and that Morebattle takes its name from the Anglian mere-botl, meaning “lake dwelling”, referring of course to Linton Loch.

It describes the mediaeval Morebattle Kirk and talks of 12th- century Linton Kirk, restored in 1911, and incorporating a stone carving of a knight slaying a dragon, said to depict the legend of the Linton Worm.

It tells readers: “The Linton Worm was a mythical serpent or dragon which ravaged the countryside, devouring livestock and people. It was killed by William Somerville of Lariston using a spear tipped with burning tar. Its lair was said to be on the northeast side of Linton Hill at a spot still known as ‘Worm’s Den’.”

The board also refers to ploughman poet Robert Davidson’s (1778-1855) work describing the lives of the rural poor, Leaves from a Peasant’s Cottage Drawer (1848).

And it covers the reivers and nearby Cessford Castle in relation to the village during the 16th-century struggles between the English and Scottish crowns. And it goes on to talk of the Morebattle Games which have been held since 1869.

Community council chairman Eric McNulty said: “Its colour fits into its surroundings so well.

“St Cuthbert brings a lot of visitors through the village and now they will be so much better informed about their surroundings; maybe they will return to explore the local sites”.