From our home base at Wiston we drove to Broughton and left one vehicle there and took the van to Stobo Kirk where we met up with Lesley and Margaret who would walk with us for the day. A leisurley pace ensued and good connecting conversations all round.
A nice path out of Stobo led us past Bee friendly gardens and hives kept by Brian Pool, Beekeeper to the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens. Sadly a memory card malfunction meant I lost the mornings photos.
I did however get some good shots after lunch of the views that were typical of the surrounding countryside.
Not long after we encountered this furry fella
Three consecutive shots followed which I have made into a gif….cute huh?
Hot sunshine made the ground under our feet warm and our feet swell a little so it was a pleasure to cool them off at the first opportunity.
Whilst we were cooling off we were blessed with a Pollinator visit.Beautiful don’t you think?
We had arranged earlier in the week to meet up with Deborah, the grand daughter of John Buchan and she was walking from Broughton to greet us, along with her dog Teasel, as we came down from the heights.
John Buchan, as you may know, was the author of The Thirty Nine Steps and the walk we have made the last two days was named after him. Here’s a little background, taken from the excellent site The John Buchan Story
In 1914 the author John Buchan (JB), after reading a number of thrillers during a protracted illness, wrote to his wife
�I should like to write a story of this sort and take real pains with it. Most detective story-writers don�t take half enough trouble with their characters, and no-one cares what becomes of either corpse or murderer�
This led to him writing that most famous thriller The Thirty-Nine Steps. He would be astonished that nearly a century after it was written it is one of the most famous book titles in the world and has never been out of print. But you could not sustain a thriving and vibrant John Buchan Museum on the strength of Richard Hannay�s adventures were it not for everything else that defines John Buchan, the man and his legacy.
He was the son of the Reverend John Buchan and Helen Masterton and that in itself is a romantic story worthy of John Buchan. The Rev John Buchan came as a locum preacher to the Free Church in Broughton in 1874 and there in the front pew sat a young girl with golden hair streaming down her back. They were married in December, 1874; Helen was barely seventeen and put her hair up for the first time that day. The young couple moved to Perth for him to start his ministry and JB was born there in August 1875. He was the oldest of six children, one of whom, his sister Anna, was the novelist O.Douglas. The manse family returned to Broughton in the Scottish Borders every year and it was there that JB absorbed the legends and traditions, the beauty and the wildness that would colour so much of his writing.
The Rev John Buchan moved to the John Knox church in Glasgow and JB attended Hutchesons Grammar School. From there he went to Glasgow University, to Brasenose College, Oxford on a scholarship and thence to the Bar. He published his first book in 1894 when he was 19. He served with Milner�s Kindergarten in South Africa. If his work in the refugee camps there and the problems of reconstruction were powerful influences on him, the country itself took a strong hold on his imagination and, his beloved Borders apart, JB wrote of nowhere more lyrically than he did of South Africa. He returned to England in 1906 and in 1907 married Susan Grosvenor, a happy marriage that lasted till JB�s death, though their first meeting was not auspicious. Susan wrote..�We discussed our first meeting. I found that John thought me haughty, while I thought him conceited and difficult. Why we should have belied our characters in this way I cannot imagine.�
Plagued by ill health, he was unable to join up in 1914 but he wrote his many-volumed History of the Great War, Served on Haig�s staff, was a Times correspondent and later the first Director of Information. He became deputy Chairman of Reuters and in 1927 he entered the House of Commons as member for the Combined Scottish Universities. By now Richard Hannay has had four of his five adventures � The Thirty Nine Steps, Greenmantle, Mr Standfast and The Three Hostages.
Between 1927 and 1934 when he became Lord High Commissioner of the Church of Scotland, he was continuing to write essays, short stories, poems and biographies, including Witch Wood (his own favourite novel in which Broughton features as Woodilee), The Runagates Club, The Kirk in Scotland and Julius Caesar. In 1935 King George V appointed him Governor General of Canada. He left the House of Commons and entered the House of Lords as Lord Tweedsmuir, in homage to his Border roots. Once in Canada, despite onerous duties, failing health and the storm clouds gathering over Europe, he was able to enjoy the vastness of the West, the people and places of the Arctic Circle and the romance of the Scottish settlers. He remains Canada�s most popular non- Canadian Governor General to this day.
He died of a cerebral thrombosis in February 1940, aged only 64 and having written nearly two hundred works still delighting and enthralling readers today.
As we approached our destination we came upon the wonderful building that is Broughton Place.
The house was built in 1937 on the site of a much older property. It is the work of the architect Sir Basil Spence and features carved detail by Hew Lorimer.
The original house on the site belonged to Sir John Murray of Broughton, a Jacobite who was secretary to Bonnie Prince Charlie and a man later described thus:
The man who insisted that he be addressed as ‘Mr. Secretary’ turned King’s evidence on his Jacobite colleagues and that betrayal earned him the eternal soubriquet of ‘Mr. Evidence.’
The original house was destroyed by fire in 1773. It has since passed through a number of owners and is now private flats.
Deborah was engaging company and we finished our day in the Laurel Bank tea Rooms with tea and cake of course. On the way I got a shot of a Bee in the car park flower beds.
Tomorrow we walk from Broughton to Biggar and in the evening we will host a talk at Atkinson Pryce bookshop.
Let’s Make A Beeline visits Atkinson-Pryce Books. Come along to the bookshop for what promises to be a fascinating evening. Meet Meg Beresford as she pauses on her beeline and is joined by Andrew Whitley, author of Bread Matters, who will talk about the importance of bees, organic cultivation and much more.
Beeline is the brain-child of Meg Beresford, self-professed “aging activist, constant gardener, daily dog walker, un-retired charity worker, nature connector, mother and grandmother, looking ahead to the future.”
Ticket £5, available from Atkinson-Pryce, advance booking recommended.
…and now for something completely different…..