History and hares

This morning Little Owl and I took one of the back roads over the tops of the hills. The road climbs tightly and steeply, between thick verges bursting with cow parsley. Swallows dipped and darted in front of us. Taller heights in the near distance were topped with swirling mist. The tips of the wind turbines on one crag could be seen peeping out of the bottom of the cloud at intervals as the blades turned.

At the highest point of this road is Soutra Aisle, the remains of a medieval hospital. I find it strange to think what a highway this region was, criss-crossed by pilgrims and armies. Soutra Aisle was also used as a warning beacon. On a clear day you can see for miles. A beacon lit there can be seen in the far hills of Fife and from the castle in Edinburgh. I always think it would be an amazing spot to see the Hogmanay fireworks from. Unfortunately the road is impassable in winter.

In fact it has been a bit of a day for history. Our lovely friends took us to Hailes Castle. Little Owl charged around, squealing with delight at hidden steps and secret dungeons. In the distance was Traprain Law, ancient home of the Votadini, literally called Traprain because of the way rain collects in a pool on the top.

I think that’s one of the reasons I’m so enjoying drawing these hares for a lovely lady in Innerleithen at the moment. If any creature sums up the magic and mystery of landscape it must surely be a hare.

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