Vintage page from 1995.
near Abbotsford and Melrose
Huntly Burn use to be covered in broadleaf hardwood trees, but today, sadly, non-native conifers have been planted. A pity because these small falls used to be hidden in a grove of oak and ash on the estate of Sir Walter Scott at Abbotsford, and seem to have been one of his favourite places.
Legend has it that hundreds of years ago Thomas the Rhymer met the Queen of the Fairies who lives on the Eildon Hills and who frequented this waterfall. He was seduced and lived with her for seven years until finally her spell broke and he returned to the world of human beings
In July 1831 JMW Turner visited Sir Walter at Abbotsford and the two of them walked to Rhymer's Glen, where Turner made a watercolour which is now in the collection of The National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh.
by Kenneth Erik Moffat
Tangled trees greet me
as I pick a path through Rhymers Glen
they let fall their down
wanting me as them
Broken bridges take me upwards
to a sun-lit open glade
like a fire-gilt silver chalice
Here! Turner splashed watercolours.
Here! Scott composed verse.
Here! Thomas the Rhymer became enchanted
by the call of a faerie Queen...
listen, and her voice breezes with the wind
smell, and her perfume fills your breath
look, and her colours run through leaves
is vivid life...
Kenneth Erik Moffat is a goldsmith, sculptor and poet living at Teviothead in the Scottish Borders. You can visit his gallery, The Johnnie Armstrong Gallery, 9 miles south of Hawick on the A7 between Carlisle and Edinburgh. They specialise in the original research, design and manufacture of high quality precious metal jewellery and art bronzes. See: http://www.thecelticgoldsmith.com/pages/frame.html
(Rhymer's Glen by J.M.W.Turner is in The National Gallery of Scotland.)