3 May 1921 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Still very cold but dry and a good deal of sun. N.W. Cycled to High Street, Halliday’s Park, Sloebank, Bleachfield Road +c + then to Heathpark, Riddell West Lodge + via Ashkirk + Hartwoodmyres to Oakwood1. Stopped at the summmit + had a smoke sheltered by the dyke2 from the keen wind. Didn’t see nor hear a single Whaup or Peewit3. Came home by Beechwood + Old Mill Farm + it was 3.30 before I got tea. Helen4 drilling at County Hotel. Stewart5 sent a pellet from the air gun through my dressing room window.

1 Dr Muir has come back from Riddell through Ashkirk village and over the hill to Hartwoodmyres (grid reference NGR NT433,248) before dropping to the Ettrick Water opposite Carter Haugh and just short of Oakwood

2 Dr Muir has presumably stopped at the boundary dyke near the Bishop’s Stone, NGR NT442,235; the description of the stone by T Craig-Brown (1886), is worth repeating “A large whinstone, called the Bishop-Stone, which used to lie on the ridge of the hill, is now built into the march-dyke between Woll and Hartwoodmyres, a few paces to the west of where it intersects the turnpike to Ashkirk. Beyond the initials of some passing loiterers, no marks are visible on the uncovered portions of the stone; and none, we are informed, were traceable on the rest before it was built in. Mayhap, it marked the bounds of abbey lands, or was set to mark the ‘rest and be thankful’ of some fair, round prelate, who loved to sit there and absorb the glorious view of Ettrick vale. Still more probably, Woll having been originally acquired from the Bishop of Glasgow, the stone was put there to indicate the limits of the bishop’s territory.” [Canmore ID 54337]

3 The northern lapwing Vanellus vanellus, known as the peewit and the Eurasian curlew or common curlew Numenius arquata, known as the ‘whaup’ in Scots

4 Helen Frances ‘Mousey’ Muir (1880-1963), Dr Muir’s third daughter and sometime housekeeper

5 Stewart Muir ‘Little Stewart’ Roberts (1908-2003), Dr Muir’s grandson

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/24, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1921]

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Archivist, interests include Dr John Stewart Muir 1845-1938) of Selkirk, general practitioner, and Seton Paul Gordon (1886–1977), naturalist, author and photographer

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