Steve is working up here for a while.... don't know whether it's for 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years.... but that is part of the adventure! We quit the house in favour of a caravan 4 years ago now, but have been in one place for almost 2 years, so it's quite exciting to be on the move again. We never get much notice about such moves, so had quite a rush packing & trashing "stuff" that we have accumulated.
early morning sunlight
The day before we left a buzzard circled overhead... the first one I'd seen where we were. I'd always hoped to see one, but they don't have much of a presence in the area... then just after we crossed the border (passport & phrasebook in hand, lol) there were two buzzards flying beside the road; i could hear their distinctive cry and felt that it was a good omen.
I always get a buzz in my stomach around the Scottish Borders... a sense of connection. It's an area that calls to me. Perhaps it's ancestral memories, as both my maternal grandparents and their lineage are from the area... scattered along both sides of the border. Yeddie Jackson is an ancestor, notorious along the borders in his day. This is what my mum found about him....
The Hunter King
To mention the name of Yeddie Jackson, is to awaken the memory of many a borderer whose hearts were young forty or fifty years ago. He had a threefold capacity as shepherd, host and king. As a shepherd he was known and respected at all the sheep and lamb fairs from Stagshawbank to Lockerbie. Then a host or gudeman of the shepherds shieling, at the Dead Water Well’ where many an invalid found a home and wholesome faring, his memory endures with gratitude in the domestic annals of a thousand homes. His was the only house where lodgings could be had at the time when the Dead Water Well was a resort of invalids, of tourists and of anglers. It is however, as the Hunter King, that Yeddie’s fame is widest spread. Poets have embalmed him in song, and artists have preserved his likeness as the Hunter King. In that capacity, he acted as monarch of all he surveyed. He and his fellow sportsmen followed the fox whereever it was to be found. The sublime and silent vale of Keilder, the gathering ground of North Tyne, the moorland and the marsh of Dead Water, the links and fells of Liddlehead, were each and all, the hunting-ground of Yeddie. His sporting excursions sometimes extended, on the west edge of the Solway, and as far south as the Humber. He kept foxhounds and terriers ready for the field, and the shepherds and the farmers that he summoned to the meet also brought their dogs along with them, so that when they were gathered, horsemen and foots men, hounds and terriers, a motley field they made. James Davidson of Hindlee, the Dandy dinmont of Sir Walter Scott was seldom awanting when Yeddie gave the call. Davidson carried his Dandies in wallets on the pony’s back along with him, but as my informant told me, ‘they were good for naught but howking’. Robson of Keilder Rig was another of Yeddie’s most choicest men, and so was Tom Potts of Burnmouth. The Duke of Northumberland might be almost considered one of the staff, and Lord John Scott was another. In fact men of all ranks, on both sides of the Border, were visitors at the homely fireside of Fairloans. An eyewitness of a lay-on on Thorlieside Fell, says that, ‘when the terriers were purring in the fox den, and the hounds in full music for the outcome of Reynard, Auld Yeddie clapped his hands and shouted ‘glorious, glorious’. His enthusiasm was exuberant and tended to inspire all round. A whole volume might be written about him, and yet he would be no truer hit off than the description given of him by James Telfer, the poetic schoolmaster of Saughtree, and here it is :-
THE HUNTER KING
( Tune -‘ Bonnie Dundee’)
Brave King of the Huntsmen, we’ll sing of thy glory
Old cock of the Border, our praise is thy due;
Thy years may be many, thy locks may be hoary,
But young is the heart that is honest and true.
O still cans’t thou rise, though the weather’s not charming’
Though white are the mountains, and hie thee away;
False Reynard soon hears the halloo so alarming,
That rings the death knell while his dawning is gray.
O where is the Huntsman, in Tyne, or in Teviot,
In England, or Scotland, that’s equal to thee?
Thy fame loudly rings from the Solway to the Cheviot,
Through all the wide border by muirland and lea.
Thy feats are well known on the wastes of the Humber,
Thy shouts have been heard on the banks of the Tweed;
But where is the Tod that can hear them and slumber,
The shouts of the Huntsmen of Liddesdale head?
Long life of thee Yeddie, and fame be attendin’t;
The joys of the chase do thou never forget;
Thou prince of good fellows, thou soul independent
Thou hearty old hero success to the yet.
O long on the mountains where blooms the brown heather,
By rock, seaur, or fountain or dark lonely glen,
May’st thou sally forth all regardless of weather
And capture the fugitive fox in his den.
And long may the shepherds who live on the Border
Rejoice as they meet you when brightens the sky,
To join the halloo and merry disorder,
When the scenting warm and the hounds are in cry.
Come fill up a bumper, we’ll pledge thee in glory,
The links of green Liddel in echo shall ring,
Thy years may be many, thy lock may be hoary,
O young is thy heart yet,our brave Hunter King.
Although Yeddie retired from the herding and hunting when he had attained the age of four score still his ruling passion reigned supreme until the end of his days. When he left Fairloans he went to Redmoss, near Newcastleton, and stayed with his son John; and there was visited by sportsmen and gentry who had known him in his palmy days, and by others who had heard of his fame. Helen, his worthy wife died at the age of 91, on the 28th December 1849, and old Adam himself expired on the 28th of January 1857 Aged 94 years. The worthy old couple of whom many a story is told, now lie side by side in Castleton Kirkyard. They have left a numerous race behind them to cherish their memory and perpetuate their honoured name. The gude wife rather objected to Yeddie’s portrait being painted, in case people would laugh at him. In the picture of him at Keilder Rig he is lively looking with low crowned hat and blue coat, and is seated on a crag with foxhound and terrier both in leash eager for the fray. The likeness is a most correct one, and is visited by tourists from far and near.
an upside down rainbow arc-ed above me before we left...
Going a bit further back down my grandmothers side is gypsy blood... perhaps that goes some way as to why I so enjoy this lifestyle. I have no inclination to settle under bricks & mortar at this time. With Scots & Romany down one side, Irish & Norse the other, I'm quite a mongrel really! I've also just discovered that a great-uncle married an Aborigine girl... so although there is no blood-tie, somewhere I have distant cousins in Australia.... fascinating eh?
a magical, glittering smile!
We'll be moving sites at the weekend, as this one is pants & a total rip-off.... not a good attitude from the owner. So I'm visualising rainbows filling the place before we move on again. I'm looking forward to exploring the area though, once we get somewhere else sorted out... and also some blog time too, which has been distinctly lacking lately!
Wishing you all rainbows in your life.... suzi xx