I love this time of the year, especially once POP is over and I can enjoy it, and above all I love the colour of the just-emerged spring leaves which is so fleeting and so gorgeous with the sunlight filtering through it that the Germans, of course, have a word for it:
Today, then, with the Weather Gods relenting and bringing us some proper May weather (I knew they read this blog), was the perfect day to finally visit Carrifran Wildwood, which I have blogged about before. We pass it every time we go back and forth to Duns, and we have watched with interest over the years as the tiny trees have grown up from a barely visible fuzz on the hillside, but we’ve never properly visited.
Today we took the opportunity of a guided walk led by one of the people who’s been involved from the start (and joined by the contractor who planted several thousand of the trees we were there to see over the years). It was a gloriously sunny day, loud with birds, and a fascinating glimpse into a project I’ve long been admiring from afar.
It was great to hear about its history from the people involved and learn more about the wildlife that was coming back alongside the trees – but you don’t need a guide to see what an amazing difference a few determined people can make if they stick at it year after year (and don’t let anyone tell them what they’re doing is impossible).
We even got to see the original rowan, the sole surviving tree in the valley when it all started, now surrounded by its own emerging offspring.
We’ve got used to Scottish hillsides being cropped bare by sheep and deer, and the rest of the valley where the wildwood lies does have its own bleak beauty, but Carrifran is something else.
Such a contrast between the emerging native woods – and the bare hills and plantation forest beyond
Go if you can, in May if you can, when all the birds are singing their hearts out and the trees are just putting out their leaves. You won’t regret it.
Though maybe bring some boots.