stories and illustration

Walking by the Leet


While relatives in other places have been menaced by bush fire and by flood and by 100mph winds – fortunately they are safe – we have an almost cloudless October day up here in the Scottish Borders. I decide to take a short walk along the Leet.  Half way through the walk, my camera battery rauns out, so I take two walks along the copse beside the water –  I have hardly seen a soul on either walk:

Beside the bridge I see my shadow reflected on the other bank of the river:


Under the main bridge out of Coldstream the nettles grow high beside the water, but among fallen leaves an enigmatic message appears:


There are still some apples growing on the trees in the garden high above the water and they are reflected in the still water before it turns into a froth below the weir:



A little light penetrates from behind me and throws shadows of trees on a fallen tree:


Little things catch my eye, a plant, the head of a mallard…. these ducks aren’t at all like the ducks on the canal which are used to people, the ducks here are truly wild. You can’t see them, but then suddenly there is a squawking and a flurry of wings, and twenty or so ducks will suddenly rise out of nowhere and take off.  The camera flash will do this – maybe they take it for the flash of a gun. The heron gives its harsh cry as it flies up and down the river. I feel that I disturb living creatures in what is their own environment:




The trees beside the river here are delicate and let in a lot of light, but I reckon there must be a fair amount of struggle by these delicate-looking plants to grow in a place which is so apparently untamed, those these copses are managed, and managed well:





Among the trees a find a tree stump which marks out a grisly death:


Maybe at the beak and talons of that creature flying overhead:


This small stretch of the river is now emptied of ducks, due to the presence of myself. I like the reflections of trees in the water, and the bright colour of the leaves against the water, which seems to capture colour from the sky in a way that I don’t see with the naked eye as deeply as the camera sees it:




I come out of the copse and take the road that leads past the gold course, where this one very pretty tree gets my attention:


I stop at the old bridge that goes over the Leet:





The path turns up into the patch of ground where young trees have been planted, and where once there must have been a pond, as there are reeds all over, and earlier in the year the yellow iris grows here in profusion.  I have the sense that at one time there was a garden laid out beneath the plants that have spread over whatever shape once was here, leaving only the ghost of a garden behind:





There is a feast of berries on the trees for the birds this year:



The wilderness gets too great for a passageway, so I take the path that turns up towards the top wood which leads back into Coldstream. By the side of the path is another tree stump, though this time covered with something less grisly than the one I came across earlier:


It is nearly November.  The autumn is upon us.  These fine days are a gift. The path through the woods is dark, and high above the Leet I catch glimpses of the water between the trees and undergrowth.  I am now up close to the big cudgels of the ivy-covered trees that from the far bank I could see  on the horizon:


Nearly back to Coldstream.  Back to people –  throughout the walk I have heard the sound of children in the distance, but have only seen one man and his dog the whole afternoon:





November 1, 2013 - Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Nice reflections. Love these!


    Comment by MichelleMarie Antell | November 1, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks, Michelle. Good to hear from you, glad you like the reflections – it’s something about the water, the reflections and the floating brightly-coloured leaves that appeals to me.


      Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | November 2, 2013 | Reply

      • Me too I love them!


        Comment by MichelleMarie Antell | November 2, 2013

      • You’ve taken some amazing pictures of trees, MichelleMarie. The colour of the gold against the blue does make for something stunning to see. I remember looking at the sky through autumn beech leaves many years ago and seeing the sky somehow turn deep lavender, though away from the beech leaves it looked blue – a pretty blue, but blue nontheless.


        Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | November 3, 2013

      • I find it amazing as well. When you look through the trees the sky does take on another hue! Of Blue! I love this season it’s amazing for sure. Thank you for the kind compliments and for taking the time to look! 🙂


        Comment by MichelleMarie Antell | November 4, 2013

  2. Cara what a tour you took us on and what great abstractly pictures you took it is beautiful thanks. I never knew how tall you are.. in picture 2 you are a giant… I am looking outside my window… can you wave to say hello?


    Comment by doronart | November 1, 2013 | Reply

    • Hi Doron – Yes, I like looking like a giant in the autumn sun, but in reality I am about 5.4 and have to stand on tiptoe to say hello to my six-foot husband. Love the word abstractly – I find I do pay more attention to the shape of the photographs I take. OK, I’m waving, but I am not the BFG so I’ll wish you a good weekend, and look forward to hearing from you again.


      Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | November 2, 2013 | Reply

      • I take it there is only one kneeling and after no more… Hope you had a good weekend yourself and a very good week ahead.


        Comment by doronart | November 3, 2013

  3. Beautiful photos of lovely countryside.


    Comment by Son of Sharecroppers | November 9, 2013 | Reply

    • Yes, I kind of ended up in the Scottish Borders, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else now. I do love the whole area, it has a fantastic history, and the countryside is beautiful.


      Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | November 9, 2013 | Reply

  4. Hi Cara – I’ve just been admiring your photos – lovely. I found your web site because I was researching the location of a poignant wartime story I have about German POW’s fishing for eels in the River Leet. Only I now believe the Leet in my story is in Pembrokeshire, Wales! But having arrived I couldn’t leave without saying hello! I produce a podcast based loosely on my late Dad’s WW2 memoirs but it’s evolved to other battles and even other wars. Thanks again for your work and bye for now. Paul


    Comment by Paul Cheall | October 8, 2019 | Reply

    • Just picked up your comment, Paul. Sorry the Leet here is the wrong Leet, but good to hear from you, and hope the research goes well. Must say I haven’t seen an eel in the Leet here, but probably haven’t been looking very hard.


      Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | October 15, 2019 | Reply

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