Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lammermuir Courses

The Lammermuir College of Knowledge
Supported by CELCA
is pleased to bring you the first in a series of FREE courses

Meditation with Ian Tullis
1st March

Dry Stone Dyking with John Bell
10th & 11th May

Painting with Lynsey Macintosh
14th & 15th June

The number of places vary on each of the courses, so apply early!

Please email to reserve your place and to get more details. Courses are open to all residents of the Cranshaws, Ellemford & Longformacus community council area

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Cranshaws 1952

The church, the manse and the cottages from the air. Click on it to enlarge

Mrs Mack's House

This picture, taken sometime towards the end of the 19th century is of Mrs Mack's the house was next to her sawmill. In the centre of the picture is the bridge at Ellemford, so the picture is post 1860 and behind it Todlea, although at this point it had only one story, not the two that it has now. The site of this is in the garden of what is now Woodman's Cottage, which was built right at the end of the century. The picture below from a slightly different angle shows the hills behind, without the fir trees as they have today. Click both pictures to enlarge.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wild Flowers Beattock to Cockburnspath

Barren Strawberry - Potentilla sterilis
Bilberry - Vaccinium myrtillus
Bird’s Foot Trefoil - Lotus
Bluebell - Hyacinthoides non –scripta
Bramble - Rubus fruticosus agg.
Broom - Cytisus scoparius
Bush Vetch - Vicia sepium
Chickweed - Stellaria media agg.
Common Dog-Violet - Viola riviniana
Common Field Speedwell - Veronica chamaedrys
Common Fumitory pink and cream - Fumaria officinalis
Common Milkwort - Polygala vulgaris
Common mouse-ear - Cerastium fontanum
Common Sorrel - Rumex acetosa
Common Vetch - Vicia sativa
Cotton grass - Eriophorum brachyantherum
Corydalis - Corydalis
Cow Parsley - Anthriscus sylvestris
Creeping Buttercup - Ranunculus repens
Creeping Thistle - Cirsium arvense
Crosswort - Cruciata laevipes
Dandelion - Taraxacum officianal agg.
Daisy - Bellis perennis
Dog’s Mercury - Mercurialis perennis
Dove’s Foot Crane’s-bill - Geranium molle
Few-Flowered Leek - Allium paradoxum
Field Forget-me-not - Myosotis arvensis
Garlic Mustard - Aliaria petiolata
Germander Speedwell - Veronica chamaedrys
Greater Stitchwort - Stellaria holostea
Green Alkanet - Pentaglottis sempervirens
Ground Ivy - Glechoma hederacea
Groundsel - Senecio vulgaris
Gorse - Ulex europaeus
Hairy Bitter-Cress - Cardamine hirsute
Hairy Tare - Vicia hirsute
Herb Robert - Geranium robertianum
Horsetail - Equisetum
Ivy-leaved Toadflax - Cymbalaria muralis
Kingcup - Caltha palustris
Lady’s Smock/Cuckooflower - Cardamine pratensis
Lesser Celandine - Ranunculus ficaria
Lesser Trefoil - Trifolium dubium
Lords and Ladies - Arum maculatum
Meadow Buttercup - Ranunculus acris
Meadow Saxifrage - Saxifraga granulata
Mountain Pansy - Viola lutea
Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage - Chrysosplenium oppositifolium
Pink Purslane - Claytonia sibirica
Primrose - Primula vulgaris

Ramsons - Allium ursinum
Raspberry - Rubus idaeus
Red Campion - Silene dioica
Red Dead-Nettle - Lamium purpureum
Ribwort Plantain - Plantago lanceolata
Russian Comfrey - Symphytum x uplandicum
Selfheal - Prunella vulgaris
Shepherd’s Purse - Capsella bursa-pastoris
Thyme-leaved Speedwell - Veronica serpyllifolia
Tormentil - Potentilla erecta
Water Avens - Geum revale
Welsh poppy - Meconopsis cambrica
Wild Strawberry - Fragaria vesca
White Dead-nettle - Lamium album
Wood Forget-me-not - Mysotis sylvatica
Woodruff - Galium odoratum
Wood Sorrel - Oxallis acetosella

This list was compiled by a group of ladies who were walking the Southern Uplands Way in mid May 2007.

Top photo Common Mouse-ear
Middle photo Cuckoo-Flower
Bottom photo Green alkanet

Friday, June 8, 2007

Roadworks at Ellemford

In spring 1860 Mr. N.D. Shaw a contractor from Perth began work on the construction of a new road between Ellemford and Smiddyhill for the Road Trustees of the county of Berwick. The road to be built was three miles long and included the erection of two bridges over the Whiteadder. The bridge at Ellemford consists of three arches of 40 foot span each and the one at Smiddyhill was a single arch of 50 feet. The estimated cost of the work was £5,000; that equates to around £475,000 in today's money.

Windshiel Farm

A STONE AXE, and a FLANGED, BRONZE AXE were found in the field behind the farm in the 19th century - it is the one to the right of the pine trees in the foreground of the picture and below the wood in the centre rear of the photo.

The stone in the photo below was found next to the ruined tower house at Windshiel Farm by Ted Baker the owner of the farm. It’s 1 ¾ inches in diameter and a little under ½ inch deep. It's a spindle whorl and would have been used in the spinning of wool. These were largely replaced by the spinning wheel in the 15th/16th Century.

Old Cranshaws Road

There used to be a road that run south from slightly to the east of the old kirk at Cransshaws. It's marked in yellow on the map below (click on both images to enlarge). On the picture below the map it shows the line of the road today - more stones on the ploughed field. Several pieces of hand worked metal and a crude lead weight with a saltire etched (bottom picture) on it have been found in this area indicating that there was activity of some kind here when the church was active. See HERE for more information.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Bumble Bees

Another bee photographed in our garden, identified by Beewatch who also emailed back the following information. This a garden bumblebee (Bombus hortorum). This species has the longest tongue of all the common bumblebee species in the UK and loves to feed on plants with deep flowers such as foxgloves, delphiniums and honeysuckle. Many of our rarer species also have long tongues so it is likely that if we can attract this long-tongued common species, we are also providing potential resources for many rarer species as well!

Monday, May 28, 2007


In a recent Berwickshire News there was an article on the decline of the bumble bee. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust based at Stirling University is asking for digital photos of bumblebees with the postcode of where the photograph was taken. If you email it to the address below they will email back with an identification of the type of bee. I emailed two photos of bumblebees taken in our garden and the was indeed emailed back with their identification.

The top left is a common carder (Bombus pascuroum) and bottom right is a red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus Lapidarius)

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Bard in The Borders

Two hundred and twenty years ago this month The Bard left Edinburgh on a trip around the Eastern Borders.

It was on 5 May 1787 that Robert Burns and his friend Robert Ainslie, Burns left Edinburgh for a tour of the Borders. Ainslie was the son of the land-steward of Lord Douglas’s Berwickshire Estates, he was born at Berrywell near Duns. Ainslie was a law student in the Edinburgh office of Samual Mitchelson when Burns met him in early 1787. Both men were lovers of wine and women and the odd song so they forged a natural friendship.

Their route lay through Haddington, Gifford, Longformacus, Duns, Coldstream, Cornhill-on-Tweed, back to Coldstream, Kelso, Roxburgh, Jedburgh, Wauchpe, Kelso, Melrose, Dryburgh, Selkirk, Innerleithen, Caddonfoot, Galashiels, Earlston, Duns, Berwick, Eyemouth, Dunbar, Duns, Alnwick, Morpeth, Newcastle, Hexham, Longtown, Carlisle, Annan and Dumfries which he reached on 1 June. At Jedburgh and Dumfries he was made a freeman of the burgh.

Left Edinburgh (May 5, 1787)—Lammermuir hills miserably dreary, but at times very picturesque. Langton Edge, a glorious view of the Merse; reach Berrywell. Old Mr. Ainslie an uncommon character—his hobbies, agriculture, natural philosophy, and politics. In the first he is unexceptionably the clearest-headed, best-informed man I ever met with; in the other two, very intelligent.

Having been south into England they later returned to Duns prior to going to Eyemouth where boh men were made Royal Arch Masons at the local Masonic lodge

Wednesday May 16.—Dine at Dunse with the Farmers’ Club —company, impossible to do them justice— Rev. Mr. Smith, a famous punster, and Mr. Meikle, a celebrated mechanic, and inventor of the thrashing-mill. Thursday, breakfast at Berrywell, and walk into Dunse to see a famous knife made by a cutler there, and to be presented to an Italian prince. A pleasant ride with my friend Mr Robert Ainslie and his sister to Mr. Thomson’s, a man who has newly commenced farmer, and has married a Miss Patty Grieve, formerly a flame of Mr. Robert Ainslie’s. Company, Miss Jacky Grieve, an amiable sister of Mrs. Thomsons, and Mr. Hood, an honest, worthy, facetious farmer in the neighbourhood.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Ellem Old Inn

This image of Ellem Old Inn dates from 1840, this advert from twelve years later (1852)

The Rathburne Hotel

This advert from August 1950 has the line - 'out of the world and into Longformacus'. Maybe we should adapt it to - 'Into the Lammermuirs to get out of this world.'


When you head south out of Gifford and climb up onto the moor there's a new road sign that shows the left turn takes you to Duns, Cranshaws and Kingside. For those who don't know Kingside was a small settlement that was ‘drowned’ when the Whiteadder Water was dammed to make the reservoir in 1968. The old road that ran though what is now the lake can be clearly seen in the picture below. This is outside our community council area but we still think of it as part of our hills.Does anyone have any old photographs of Kingside?


Hopefully this will be the first of a series of talks on the the Lammermuir Hills by people with specialist knowledge of a particular subject.

• Did you know the B.6355 used to be the most important road in Scotland?
• What happened at Ellemford on 20th August 1513?
• What are shiels?

Come and find out the answers to these questions and much more

A talk by Scottish Borders Council Archaeologist, Rory McDonald

7.30 p.m. Thursday 17th May Cranshaws Village Hall

Drinks and Nibbles included!