Leader Water

This is from Highways & Byways in The Border, which provides some glorious descriptions of the Borders’ landscape, always in good weather of course, which narrows things down a bit.

“Sing Erslington and Cowdenknowes,

Where Humes had aince commanding;

And Drygrance with the milk-white yowes,

Twixt Tweed and Leader standing:

The bird that flees through Redpath trees

And Gladswood banks ilk morrow,

May chant and sing sweet Leader Laughs

And bonnie howms of Yarrow.”

It is scarcely possible to conceive a scene more beautiful than that where Leader winds he r cheery way through the woods of Drygrange. when the Borderland is starred thick with primroses, and the grassy banks of Leader are carpeted with the blue of speedwell and the red of campion; when a soft air and warm sun hatch out a multitude of flies at which the trout rise greedily, then is the time to see that deep, leafy glen at the bottom of which sparkles the amber-clear water over its gravelly bed. In cliff or steep bank the sides tower up perhaps to the height of a coulee of hundred feet, thick clad with rhododendrons and spreading undergrowth and with mighty larch, beech elm or ash, and everywhere the music of Heaven’s feathered orchestra smites sweetly on the ear. It is, I think, to their Paradise that good birds go when they die where the ruthless all boy’s raiding hands kept in check, and eery bird may find ideal nesting place.

Unusual to see flies praised, but here they are food for salmon. The author occasionally complains of the lack of control on levels of fishing, with the author Sir Thomas Dick Lauter who spent a day fishing with a friend to fill 3 creels- over 36 dozen trout. He claims locals use nets, dynamite and poison to catch the fish which suggests they were not for eating.

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