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Postby fionamalkin » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:27 am

I spend a lot of time living in my memories writing about particular fondly remembered events gives me much pleasure and allows me to escape a little. My husband and I have made many lovely bike trips round the Scottish borders .......................

I am forced to look for the sun once more in my memories! Some years ago, maybe five or six, at this time of year, ( I remember because of the football ) it was really really hot, this is like a fairy story already!
Anyway it was a beautiful summers day and it was before we became so involved with Shemaron, we went on a road trip around the Scottish borders. I sat snugly cushioned in leather upholstery and too tightly swaddled in leather bike gear, upon our Harley Electraglide. We set off along the dual carriageways and over the roundabouts mandatory to beginning any journey, towards the border on the Jedbrugh road, at the border we took the fork to Hawick. I am much higher when I sit on the bike than I am in my car and as we sped along, over the walls and around the bends many surprised impressions of the countryside glanced and blinked by, secret niches hidden from normal view. The temperature dropped over the moors towards Hawick but the day was young and warm and full of engagement, we skimmed the hedgerows and burst instantly in and out of the miles one after the other. We moseyed through Hawick and soon lost the central white road markings as we turned onto ever smaller roads that curved and flexed around hills and farms, snaked along rivers and streams and climbed and fell as we travelled deeper and deeper into the border lands. Great sweeps of scrubby terrain and gentle upland hills, their unobserved roadsides frayed with woolly fright as we swept by. No one was around, we had not seen another vehicle in ages, we felt as though we were the first to discover these empty spaces, up to Tushi Law after a few moments by the Brinkle burn and down to the Ettrick Forest. One of the particular aspects about bike travel I especially enjoy during spring and summer time is the roadside redolence, all the floral perfumes infuse and ferment and we pass through fragrant pockets, I savour the essence of the earth.

We stop by Ettrick Water to lie in the sun, I clamber after my husband in his search for the perfect spot, awkward in leathers and boots, over the river and through the sharp marsh grass on the river plain, over the rampant nettles and brambled bank on the other side and through the troughs and ditches of the pine forest. Gratefully at last I sink down into the vegetation, my leathers now a welcome barrier against all that lives upon it and within it.

"Heads in the grass among hoppers and spiders, skies in our faces endless, filtered through boughs, caught in heartbeat and riversong, Ettrick to Esk."

We press on riding along the rivers' song down the valley toward Eskdalemuir and Samye Ling always a good stop for incense and soaps.We pass the archaic Girdle Stanes on the Rvier Esk with their lovely echoes of other times and make a loop towards Hemitage Castle, wending our way through the empty countryside in the sultry afternoon, we stop once more to stretch the stiffness from our limbs, this time in the cool pine forest.

"Heads on needle beds, among roots and earth, in the coolth of the forest, cocooned in silence and damp, caught in heartbeat and pine scent, Esk to Hermitage."

The final leg of our journey takes us round Kielder and Deadwater Fell, by this point I am tired and sore but there is only a hour to go, it is always the last hour of a journey that seems hardest however long it takes in it's entirety, it is also always annoyingly completely unavoidable.

What a journey, we loved it so much it became a tradition to make it at least once every year, this year we are still waiting for a good day.

"Heads on hard rock, among insects droning, and the river running, caught in heartbeat and sun, Hermitage to Kielder."
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