stories and illustration

Walking the Oxenrig Path


It is a long time since I walked up over Oxenrig, which is where I go when I want to feel far away from roads and houses.  Later in the summer, walking up there, one sees hawks and hares, though this time there was little sign of wildlife. except for wood pigeons, which are ubiquitous. Noisy-winged birds,  I can even recognise the sound they make when disturbed, invisible, in a thicket of trees..  Instead of acres of wheat there is a lot of rape crop planted this year.  But the feeling of walking over the hills and far away is still there.


A chaffinch on a treetop tweeted me up the road, where looking back I saw my husband walking along another route.  I wish I had taken a photograph of him rather than the chaffinch.  He is dressed for walking, in his gear and straw hat, and thinks I am taking a photograph of him. He looks like a French Impressionist out on the prowl for subject matter. He goes down one road, and I go up the hills, past the first poppy of the summer that I have seen, through the piles of stone, and out on to the path, taking a look sideways at the array of yellows, and the gate to the field:


 Then on up the path. At the top of the hill I look back towards the farm, which no longer is the egg farm, but is still being used, I  heard activity in the sheds as I was passing, and there is a strangely old-fashioned tractor there, like something out of a fifties farm set, rather than the machines like small houses that thunder slowly along the roads round here.


The road goes up and down, up and down, it is good for the respiration, I don’t notice that I have any asthma at all, inspite of the hills and the rape fields, possibly because it is so peaceful up here, and I am going at my own pace.


At the bottom of a hill is this rather sinister-looking enclave, where they raise chicks, or maybe where they did raise chicks, I don’t know whether this is chick chicks or other chicks, anyway, I did see a hawk scything through their at low level last year, obviously on the qui vive. Everything is open now and looks a bit derelict, the pine trees make for dead ground cover, it is a bit of a Mr Todd kind of a place.


So it is nice to see a healthy-looking bee among the plants outside:

oxenrig bee

The path goes up and down, up and down, past the pylons which I have always found exciting, even when I was a child:




oxenrig18 oxenrig19



Past the stream strengthened with stones caged in wire, this stream I couldn’t cross last summer further down the fields, as I was trying to find a short cut back to the town. Here it is almost dry, and looks more sinister than it is, as I am photographing facing the sun:


I have walked quite a few miles now, there is no going back the way I came, so at each hill I look forwards to try and spy the gate at the end of the path. There is a small sheltered woody area, and then the path opens out, and there is the gate leading back on to the road, only a small road, which will eventually lead back on to the main Duns road, which will eventually lead me back to Coldstream, stepping into the verge when cars go by at a furious pace. There’s still some way to go:




On the small road, the buttercups line the roadside, and I walk along the unfamiliar route (I usually turn back and retrace my steps) I am still taking pictures of the roadside as I go:





And  I say hello to the same stream I saw, in its different guise, on the Oxenrig path, as it now crosses under the main highway . I am nearly home.



June 19, 2013 - Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. What a beautiful walk, in a stunning part of the Scottish Borders…..looks like it would be a good dog walk. You’ve inspired me to try it soon 🙂


    Comment by greenmackenzie | June 19, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks for your comment. Yes, it is wonderful up there – I’m sure your dog would enjoy it too….


      Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | June 19, 2013 | Reply

  2. Cara what a beautiful private secret countryside you enjoy and keep to yourself at times away from everybody… I could easliy sit beside you and do few paintings as it is so beautiful… and inviting… I love those photos but specially the one with the gate, poll and tree… Not surprise you manage to write and illustrate in such a super peacefull place. Thank you for popping over a short while ago.


    Comment by doronart | June 20, 2013 | Reply

    • Good to hear from you, Doron. I think I ought to do more painting out in the open air. Do you work like that? When I was at art school I did work direct from the model, but I suppose after doing a lot of illustration I got used to using my imagination and also photographs (these days my own photographs, at least). I really like the variety of subject matter in your work, as well as its colour and energy – I just like your website a lot, it’s friendly, and always good to look at.


      Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | June 20, 2013 | Reply

      • Hi Cara I try to do as much as I can in the open and live as you see light shade and colours better. You can’t see it in pictures. I many times use imagination and often if use pictures use B&W. I try as often to paint something I see but quickly switch and interpret it into my view and expresion using my imagination also. I like so many subjects and I enjoy trying it all if I can. I have some ideas where I want to go but it takes time and practice. I still carry a huge ‘L’ plate on my back and learn from everybody. Thank you for your input and interest in my work and sharing it loudly which I very much appreciate. Have a nice evening.


        Comment by doronart | June 20, 2013

      • Thanks for that. It encourages me to get out there with my sketchbook instead of a camera some of these days.
        I think that the fact that if one has any sense, one goes on learning all the time, is one of the things that makes being a visual artist, especially, interesting. I have been working on a picture book, the text of which I wrote in about an afternoon, but I still haven’t quite worked out how to do the pictures even after several months. I kind of have them in my mind’s eye, but don’t know what technique to use. I did some paintings, but after leaving them for a couple of weeks, realised they were all wrong. But I hope soon the way to do it will occur to me.
        Yes, I do very much enjoy your website, and it is good to hear from you.


        Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | June 21, 2013

      • Cara thank you again, please email me your sketches to it will be nice to see your work and if you want I can comment, some time sharing with others can give you a good idea and solve your problems. Of-course that if you share with too many you can get so many opinions that can be very confusing. I am sure by sketching and playing with the idea you can solve it and you have the knowledge and experience to do it anyhow. I would love to help and i am here if you need me.


        Comment by doronart | June 21, 2013

      • Thanks so much for the invitation, Doron. I may well do that when I get down to doing some sketching for the new book, which I am setting in this part of the world. For the next few weeks I am working in acrylic on some quayside paintings for an exhibition in August, and will be using my portfolio of photographs of Eyemouth. Look forward to seeing what you do next.


        Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | June 22, 2013

      • Good luck painting and thank you.


        Comment by doronart | June 23, 2013

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