|Walter - The Baxatron|
A hundred and fifty miles north of Sheffield and you are in a hilly, underpopulated region known as the Scottish Borders. Though I was at university in Scotland, it's an area I have hardly explored at all. My trains or many hitchhike rides used to pass along the east coast - from Newcastle to Alnwick, Berwick-upon-Tweed, then up to Dunbar, Musselburgh and along to Edinburgh. Borders towns like Kelso, Hawick and Peebles were always bypassed, languishing in their inland secrecy.
|Walter's mum (93)|
I have been in email correspondence with Walter for a while and one day I hope to meet him so that he can show me how to take consistently great photos before retreating to "The Jolly Haggis" for a pint of heavy and a wee dram. We will exchange lurid tales of his many exciting years in architectural planning for his local health service and my years of chipping away at the old chalkface in dusty classrooms, serving our nation's grateful youth. For this post, I asked him if he'd pick four of his "best" photos - to show off his talent and his beloved Borders and these were his choices:-
|Reflections on Loch of the Lowes|
|Salmon fishing on the River Tweed|
|Bowden Moor from the B6359|
|Sunrise on Brotherstone Hill|
|A Hercules in the Selkirk to Moffat valley|
|Mist and trees at Brotherstone|
Walter Raleigh? Walt Disney? Walter Cronkite - no way! For me, in this oddly sycophantic blogpost there's only one Walter worth mentioning. I guess it's because I'm often striving for the impossible - the perfect picture and it seems to me that The Baxatron regularly gets much closer than I do to that tantalising goal.
Finally, here's Walter in his own words: "Tourists from the south usually charge through the Borders on their way to Edinburgh and the Highlands but there is much to enjoy in an area of rounded hills and attractive market towns such as Melrose, Kelso and Jedburgh, all with old ruined abbeys. There are historic houses, keeps and peel towers to explore. Galashiels is not that attractive having been a tweed and woollen mill town – at one time 28 weaving mills were situated along by the Gala Water but there is only one active mill and tall chimney left. A local character called Jimmy ‘Piper’ Rae used to walk around the top of a mill chimney that was due for demolition playing the bagpipes as a farewell gesture to a town landmark, and all without a safety harness in the days before Health and Safety. As a boy I knew when I was late for school by the different sounds the mill whistles made."