Summer’s last fling is glorious treat


Wow! Summer seems to have returned for a late run. The weekend weather was amazing as I took to the hills on Sunday morning for a wonderful walk above Selkirk.

Wandering up through the coniferous woodlands of Philiphaugh estate, I was struck at the lack of bird song, however that is the norm for this time of year.

There were a few about however, but rather than singing, it was more their alarm calls which betrayed their presence. I heard jay, great spotted woodpecker, nuthatch, raven and, of course, the ever present buzzards which circled high above the trees, making full use of the late summer thermals.

There has been a fair bit of clear felling since I last visited this area and once I reached the higher parts, I was amazed at the stunning vistas which have opened up as a result.

I chose a tree stump by the track side to take it all in. I could see virtually the whole of Selkirk in the foreground and many of the Borders’ highest hills were clearly visible as I scanned the horizon – the Eildons, the Black Hill, the Minto Hills and, furthest away, the Cheviot, with its head obscured by some of the few clouds which were in the sky.

Hot and sticky from my exertions, I delved into my rucksack to retrieve the refreshment I had hurriedly thrown in before I left.

It was a “Jubbly” which I had bought on a whim, while shopping last week.

I hadn’t seen them since my school days and could hardly wait to try it out – for those of more tender years, a Jubbly is an odd shaped foil lined carton filled with orange juice then frozen. To access the contents you have to cut or tear one edge then squeeze the ice through the gap then suck it. It was still partly frozen and what a treat it turned out to be. Oh, what wonderful memories!

Before leaving the woodland, I came upon a colony of some quite spectacular fungi – the first of the season of any note.

The best one was dinner plate size and was brown on top with lemon coloured pores underneath. Definitely a Boletus of some sort – possibly one called impolitus – its picture is below.

My final stop was at the reservoir at the head of the Long Philip Burn, where the sun still shone and the surrounding hills were bathed in purple from the blooming heather.

The last of the season’s swallows skimmed the surface catching flies, while a group of juvenile pied wagtails foraged along the water’s edge for insects.

What an idyllic spot to end a memorable outing.