Friday, 14 November 2008

A Tweedside Daunder

Alright, I'll admit it. This visit was not in Scotland. But you could see Scotland across the Rio Tweed!

We spent a Sunday of sunshine in and around Norham. The village has an impressive ruined castle, with thick medieval walls, situated above the Tweed on a low sandstone cliff. The castle was built in 1121 at the extreme edge of England by the Bishop of Durham to protect his lands from the Scots, but was captured by the Scots numerous times between 1136 and 1513. It is ruinous now, but enough of it remains to be one of the most impressive castles in Northern England. Another impressive castle, Roxburgh Castle, further upriver in Scotland, was not so lucky - it was completely levelled in 1460 by the Scots so that English invaders could not garrison it.

Norham Castle and the Tweed:

A bend in the river

The Tweed at this point is deep, wide and fast-running. Water bubbles up from sub-surface disurbances, and back-eddies form at the bends. Otherwise the river was silent, and there was surprisingly little noise. No traffic, no birdsong. The day was still and even warm in the sunshine - perhaps the last warm day of the year.

The Scottish bank:

Island in the Tweed:

Birch tree on a sandstone cliff above the river:

A leaf-floored path leads downstream from Norham, up and down the soft low cliffs. An occasional swan, heron or family of ducks swam on the water. There was much of interest, and we did not wander far before realising that time was against us.

Autumn trees:

When the sun went behind a cloud, it suddenly became very cold. We wandered through the old village of Norham back to our car and the bridge to Scotland.

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