We've resolved to try to get out of Edinburgh more over the autumn and winter. Otherwise we're stuck in a routine where the weekends end up servicing the working week - food shopping, housework, gardening, allotmenting. It can begin to seem like one big chore. This Saturday past was our first 'escape day'. The weather forecast was initially set fair, but as forecasts do it deteriorated into a mix of rain and gales. By the time we reached our destination in the Borders, the hilly land south of Edinburgh, the gales had set in properly and we were experiencing what the Meteorological Office - known as the Met Office - calls 'buffeting' - winds strong enough to make you wobble on your feet. For that reason we decided to stay on the flat rather than head upwards.
For a while we walked along Glen Holm, and in the brief spells of sunshine I took the shot above and the three that follow. First of all, another rainbow. We have had a year of glorious rainbows, and every time I marvel at their beauty.
The heather and bracken are now shades of tawny brown and gold, and the birch trees light up in the sun.
We saw no wildlife beyond the occasional soaring bird of prey, but there were plenty of sheep - Blackface sheep with their magnificent curling horns. Although we could see them clearly with the naked eye, the compact camera we had with us didn't pick out that level of detail. So if you follow this link you'll see the Blackface in all its glory.
As we walked out of the glen we came across this intriguing sign. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions about the shepherd.
After Glen Holm we moved on to Talla Reservoir, which provides the water for Edinburgh.
On the way home we stopped briefly in the village of West Linton for a walk around its beautiful church and old buildings. The daylight was beginning to decline by now - 4 pm and the long winter darkness is looming on the day British Summer Time ended.
The magnificent yew in the church yard reminds me of an illustration in one of my cherished books from childhood - the Ladybird book, 'What To Look For In Winter'. I searched for the illustration online - there used to be a site where you could buy prints of the illustrations from the series, but it seems to have demised. But if you had a British 1950s/60s childhood you may know what I mean. The date 1160 on the gate is when the church was founded.
In the village centre is a clock with an unusual, much older sculpture of a woman. She is Lady Gifford, wife of a laird of Linton who erected the sculpture on the village well in 1666. The clock later replaced the well, which served as the market cross.
And very seasonally, on our way back to the car we noticed the West Linton Guy Fawkes/bonfire night bonfire taking shape. As we watched a couple of women approached and donated the rolled-up carpet you see at the bottom right.
Returning to the Met Office website, if you scroll down to the bottom of the page you'll see that they offer weather forecasts for key events, including bonfire night. It's worth a look for the historic information about weather on that night in the past.