stories and illustration

Liddesdale: Hare in a Rushy Field


Liddesdale is hill farming country, and hares are at home there.  One came into the garden in the evening and fed at the same corner, under a tree; but this one was out in the fields, among the oyster catchers and the sheep.  Now I have decided to set “The Midnight Hare” in this countryside, which I know so well from long ago. The forestry walks have changed, as the trees are hewn, but so much else stays the same.

June 14, 2014 - Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , ,


  1. Wonderful…is Midnight Hare a book or a painting?
    Which ever….basing our work in landscapes we know can add such intimacy 🙂


    Comment by greenmackenzie | June 14, 2014 | Reply

    • You are so right, Seonaid. It is a book that I am working on – I wrote the first draft in two hours, and it has changed little since then, apart from the obvious refinement that any script needs. But I haven’t been able to get the right feeling for the paintings. Seeing the hare in Liddesdale, and knowing and having very deep feelings for that part of the world, I think it is right that the books will be set there. I have at last got a finished rough drawn with which I am happy, apart from one episode which I am not sure about. The book will be ready to sent out to some publishers by the autumn. If I don’t find a publisher I shall do it myself!


      Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | June 15, 2014 | Reply

  2. Dear Cara
    Cant quite believe it I just typed LIDDESDALE HARE into a search engine and I discovered your beautiful poetry and illustrations. The amazing thing is that I composed a poem with this very title after a magical evening being driven back to Hawick from Newcastleton, having beeen given a lift in a four wheel drive police vehicle having missed my last bus. The borders have ever since cast a magical spell over me . The history , the wildness, the creatures, the silences…. I could go on. You might appreciate that Im a writer and musician…. presently living in Manchester… but longing to escape. I have decided that when I retire I shall come up to the empty valleys and spend my final days composing , writing and being inspired. I enclose copy of my poem for you to see. Do hope you like it. Sometimes artists on the same ground quite unexpectedly!
    Best wishes . John Calvert


    B6399 from Newcastleton
    Evening marries remoteness
    Tight on the wheel as hairpins
    Bend into steepness

    For a while the moon is with you
    Rising over your shoulder as the road humps
    Bucks. As you coast , then climb
    And the sheep flee

    At a point where headlights gather
    The roads centre stitching
    The hare, inching her way
    Drawing together of two times

    Your drive is paused . The moments melt
    To seconds as she freeze frames in the swathe of white
    She holds each dial in check
    Before she lets you go

    Whitropefoot, Shankendsheils, Berryfell
    The night folds back
    And surely the goddess has come, and gone

    You fall towards the lights of Hawick
    Touched by magic

    John Calvert


    Comment by | February 17, 2016 | Reply

    • Dear John

      How moving to read your letter and the beautiful evocation of your encounter with that Liddesdale Hare. I remember a hare running in the headlights as we drove from the Liddesdale to Carlisle, lit up in the dark, and your poem reminds me of that; but your poem’s first line calls to mind that road through unpopulated countryside from Newcastleton to Hawick, the B6399, even that echoes in my memory. The hare in the book I am writing, a picture book, is a Borders hare – last time I was in Liddesdale I walked for miles, saw blue butterflies and hares and merlins. We used to live there, and the family still has the old house that my father bought as a ruin (“the auld bugbear” it was known as in Newcastleton before he bought it and renovated it). That part of the world is where my heart still is. Thank you for the poem and for your good letter, it has meant a lot to me. I might write to your futher by email at some time, if you would not mind, as it would be a privilege to think once more about the Liddle Valley. How brilliant is WordPress at times! Thank you for this. Cara


      Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | February 17, 2016 | Reply

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