The jubilee path to autumnal beauty


A few weeks ago I wrote extolling the virtues of the Diamond Jubilee Path between Leaderfoot and Earlston after having walked the first section between Leaderfoot and Redpath.

Last week, on a glorious autumnal day, I added another section.

The sky was blue and there was a nip in the air as I set out from the picturesque 12th century settlement of Redpath, heading into the woods at the west end of the village.

Here, the trees, particularly the beech, were at their spectacular best with the sun streaming through their burnished leaves.

On this section the path is well made up and winds through the mixed woodlands between the Leader Water and arable fields.

On the steeper sections, steps have been cut into the slopes and on the even more precipitous parts, wooden stairs have been constructed.

This part is hillier than the first and requires a slightly higher level of fitness, but it is well worth breaking sweat for.

At one of the best viewpoints of the section, an intricately-carved seat depicting otters and fish has been installed for the walker to relax and take in the vista.

Dropping down to a lower level, the path crosses a gurgling burn by way of a wooden footbridge. Here, out of the chilly wind, was a perfect spot to have a warming coffee from my flask and a chocolate biscuit.

The traffic noise on the busy A68 across the river was always in the background, but the soothing sound of the rushing stream soon blotted it out.

After a few minutes sitting quietly, several bird species began to make themselves known. I could hear the harsh, rasping calls of several jays from the nearby oak trees as they hunted for acorns.

Overhead, a quartet of buzzards wheeled and soared, mewing their enjoyment of such a wonderful day.

Nearby, a row of recently-planted rowans, devoid of leaves but heavy with berries, drew in lots of avian foragers such as blackbirds, redwings and even a group of bullfinches.

I ran out of time to complete the whole section to Cowdenknowes, instead cutting across a stubble field onto the road to head back to my starting point.

It was here I came upon a dead badger at the roadside. How unlucky it was to have been struck down on such a quiet country road, highlighting the need for care to be taken while driving on narrow lanes at night.

For more details of this and other lovely walks in the area, simply google the Earlston Paths Group.

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