One of my favourite ways to get out of town


After the thunder and lightning and torrential rain of Saturday night, Sunday gave us a taste of the summer we never had.

It was warm and humid and the sun shone from a clear blue sky as Treacle and I set out on one of our favourite walks through the woods of Philiphaugh Estate, up the lovely glen known as the Corbylinn.

Selkirk is not easy to escape from at the moment, thanks to the ubiquitous flood protection work, but I also had timber extraction work to contend with as well.

However, we soon left all that behind and I began to enjoy the tranquillity of the glen.

The purple of the willowherb and knapweed painted the trackside with splashes of colour, while the more shady wooded sections provided an ideal habitat for the delicate white flowers of enchanter’s nightshade.

This late flowering plant is attractive in its natural setting, but if you get it in the garden it is an absolute nightmare to get rid of.

It has masses of thread-like white roots, which break easily and if left in the ground, form new plants.

At the head of the glen is a small rectangular reservoir, known locally as the Top Pond, and it was here that I had my first breather.

What an idyllic spot it is.

I sat near the old pier watching the swallows swooping over the water, occasionally touching the surface to scoop up floating insects.

The backdrop was Foulshiels Hill which was resplendent in its late summer garb of stunning purple heather.

Suitably refreshed, I set off for higher ground and the ancient resting place of Tibbie Tamson – banished to this remote hillside grave by the local townspeople who thought she was a witch.

As I climbed, the views improved and the wind became stronger until it was nearly gale force by the time I reached the top, but its cooling effect was more than welcome.

Heading back down through the woods, I had a narrow escape as a larch bough snapped overhead and came crashing down to land a few feet away.

The recent combination of intermittent heat and rain has meant that the forest floor was resplendent in a wide variety of fungi of all shapes and hues.

It looks like this is going to be a bumper year.

Later the same day, I thought it would be nice to visit Hawick’s Wilton Park to hear the band playing at the new bandstand and have coffee and a scone at the café.

We arrived at around 2.30pm, just in time to hear the Salvation Army band playing their last number.

Never mind, I thought, a nice snack will make up for it. Arriving at the café, we discovered that it had been demolished and replaced by an ice cream van.

A nice walk round the walled garden would make amends, we thought. We got there to discover that it was closed for renovation and not due to open to the public until later in the week. Time to go home.

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