Thursday, 13 June 2019

Seven members of Biggar Ramblers set out on the first of 2 wild flower walks this month led by Kathy Henry and Pam Hart.  The group left from Maxton Church to walk beside newly ploughed and planted potato fields.  At the boundary the tree lined bank leading to the Tweed supported woodland flowers of bluebells, wild garlic and dog’s mercury indicating the site of ancient woodland.  After passing Craigover the walk took to the banks of the Tweed and spotted 2 military jets passing over and returning and then proceeded to carry out flight manoeuvres.  The walk leaders were thanked for putting on a fly-past.  Then it was over the wire suspension bridge to the grounds of Mertoun House.  In the adjacent field a herd of about 50 heifers took an interest in the walkers and gathered alongside the fence. And the jets returned to continue manoeuvres to the east.
Passing Mertoun House the walk descended to the lower gardens of the house where the first yellow azalea bush was.  Then it was round past the ice-house to the dove-cote.  Inside the walled garden the bank was covered in flowering blue and white bells and the top of the bank was lined with apple trees in blossom.  Returning to the road the route was lined with the yellow azaleas and sprinklings of Candelabra Primula.  Reaching the main road a lunch break was called next to the village hall prior to the walk down to the river and across Mertoun Bridge to join the St Cuthbert's Way.  The group stopped to observe sand martins flocking and diving into and exiting their nest holes.  Then it was into the woodlands where different wild flowers were found including toothwort spotted by Kathy.  The final part of the route was through the lines of poplar trees laid out in regimented rows a throwback to the days when trees like these were cultivated for matches.  Leaving the trees and up the side of the banking to reach the church and return to the cars.  It was questioned if the 2nd flower walk in the Peebles area in 2 weeks time would provide such an diversity of nature (not to mention a military fly-past with aerobatics).