Cauldshiels view is worth the climb


As this amazing weather continues, I took advantage of yet another glorious Saturday to visit one of my favourite mid-summer haunts – Cauldshiels Loch near Melrose.

I was surprised to find that, given the conditions, I had the place completely to myself.

The loch was flat calm with only a few ripples emanating from the feeding swan family, consisting of parents and four cygnets, and a solitary little grebe that disappeared periodically beneath the surface in search of underwater titbits.

On the opposite shore, I could see a cormorant perched on a partly submerged post, wings outstretched, drying them in the warm sunshine, as an inquisitive cow watched fascinated, from a few feet away.

After walking halfway round the loch, through the wooded section, I emerged into the full sunlight and took it into my head to scale Cauldshiels Hill, which overlooks the loch.

Treacle the dog reached the summit several times before I eventually made it, sweating and “peching” profusely.

Oh to have that much energy!

The walk up through the long grass disturbed myriads of tiny blue damselflies and hundreds of grassland butterflies, mainly ringlet and meadow brown. Once at the top, I found a convenient rock and sat down to take in the stunning 360-degree views from the Cheviots in the south through the Tweed and Ettrick valleys to the west, Gala to the north and round to the Eildons in the east – surely one of the best views anywhere in the Borders and well worth the climb.

Nearer home, things are hotting up on the Garden Moth Survey as the season reaches its peak.

Last Friday, my trap yielded more than 30 individuals, covering 16 species of vastly differing size and appearance, as illustrated in this week’s picture.

Surely, the concept that moths are brown and boring will be dispelled by these two beauties caught during the same night.

The big blousy one is a garden tiger, while the smaller one is the exquisite True Lover’s Knot, both quite common, but like most moths, seldom seen by those who don’t seek them out.

One moth which I didn’t need to seek out last week, came calling on its own accord.

I was watering the garden after the sun had dropped below the horizon, when a weird droning noise whizzed past my head.

I put the watering can down and soon found the perpetrator feeding on some lobelia in a pot.

Hovering in front of the flowers was a humming bird hawkmoth. This summer visitor from foreign climes turns up sporadically in this country and occasionally in the Borders.

Look out for something resembling a small humming bird which is day-flying and has a distinctive buzz about it and let me know if you see one and where.

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