Thursday, 12 October 2017

Living in Reiver Country

All of my life I have lived in the what is sometimes termed Reiver Country. Basically it's the South of Scotland, the Borders and the North of England (like proper North, well above York) where the Border Reivers lived, fought, and plundered. It's a place that has switched between being Scottish and being English as wars were fought, and even now I'd say that the lines are pretty blurred. Let's just call it British (and proud).

I was actually born in the South of Scotland and it wasn't until I was around two years old that our family moved to Northumberland. Despite the big move, we were still Home. We recognised the landscape and the language, there was still plaid and pipes, and Pit Yakkers pretty much sound the same wherever you are (unintelligible).

Growing up my mum taught me to be proud of my heritage. I love that I have these violent, feuding ghosts that came before me, the scars they left on the landscape. I love their resilience, how their very existence was all about surviving. Within a mere five miles of where I live there are numerous ruins of fortified dwellings, castles, towers, bastle houses, pele towers. Thick walls with no ground floor door. Entrances ten feet up a wall. Narrow windows. Steep ditches and towering walls.

One of my favourite things to do on a bright, cold morning is to walk up to the nearest ruin and just stare at it, imagining all that has come in the past.

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