Happy New Year! In north Northumberland we have had hard frosts but, so far, have escaped snow except for a light dusting. This is in contrast to southern and western parts of Britain.
Looking back, we had some interesting trips during 2017. In September we had a week in Galloway when it rained every day but one. But it didn't stop us getting out to see the amazing number of historic and archaeological sites. This is a really interesting area.
In May we had a fantastic visit to Cyprus. In June we went on a National Trust for Scotland cruise to Orkney, Shetland and St Kilda. This was the third time we have landed on St Kilda and the second in warm, sunny weather. The passage out was very rough! I have put some photos on the Gallery page.
At the Borders Book Festival in June, I read an extract from my contribution to the Border Writers' Forum Anthology, Border Voices. This was at Melrose in the Scottish Borders and I was one of ten readers. The theme of the Anthology was 'Bridges' and my contribution was entitled 'Bridges to Heaven'.
A current project which is taking up much of my time is the inspection and recording of historic buildings in connection with the Branxton & Crookham Village Atlas Project. This is a community project administered by the Till Valley Archaeological Society with the aid of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. In addition to the Historic Buildings Group, there are three other groups of volunteers dealing with archaeology, social history and oral history. There is more information on the TillVAS website—there is a link below.
My fourth book on local topics, Breamish and Till: From Source to Tweed, is available for sale, published by the Till Valley Archaeological Society (TillVAS)(www.tillvas.com), ISBN 978-1-291-58938-2 Price £10. Net proceeds of sale go to the Society.
Information about this and other books, articles and poems can be seen on my Books & Books (cont.) pages and copies of some may be bought by clicking on the blue link at the top of the Books page and following the instructions.
The Braw Trees of Coldstream, Paperback, Lulu Publishing 2011, £6.99
Foreword by Lady Caroline Douglas-Home, MBE.
This book describes some of the notable, veteran and ancient trees in Coldstream and the surrounding area that appeal to the author on account of their age, historical connections, location or appearance and gives information on their setting within the Scottish Borders. The author has always been interested in trees and this was stimulated by taking part in recording trees for the Woodland Trust's 'Ancient Tree Hunt' which achieved its objective of recording 100, 000 notable, veteran and ancient trees by 2011, a project which continues carries on. Net proceeds of sale go to Coldstream Community Centre.
Leet Water From Source to Tweed, Paperback, Lulu Publishing 2012, £8.50
Foreword by Major-General Sir John Swinton, KCVO, OBE.
The Leet Water is a small and unassuming tributary of the mighty River Tweed in the Scottish Borders. Because of this, it is often overlooked but it will reward those who are prepared to go looking for its charms. It flows in unexpected directions through a variety of landscapes during its short journey and there are many surprises on the way and much to discover in terms of topography, geology, pre-history, history and wildlife. The author includes many photographs as well as historic and up-to-date maps. Net proceeds of sale go to community groups in Whitsome, Swinton and Coldstream.
Breamish and Till: From Source to Tweed, paperback, 276 pages, TillVAS, 2014, £10.00
Foreword by Rt. Hon. Lord Joicey, Ford & Etal Estates
The book looks at the various sections of the two river valleys (the upper part of the R. Till is called the R. Breamish) between the source of the River Breamish in the Cheviot Hills and the junction between the River Till and the River Tweed at Tillmouth in north Northumberland. The author has been on a subjective journey looking at archaeology, flora and fauna, history, geology and things that just appealed to him on an 'as and when' basis as he came across them. Many maps and photographs. Net proceeds of sale go to the Till Valley Archaeological Society (TillVAS).
Please see the information on the first Books page to see how to purchase any of these local books.