Sunday, 28 August 2016

A bee-loud hillside


By William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, 
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made; 
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee, 
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, 
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; 
There midnight's all a-glimmer, and noon a purple glow, 
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day 
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; 
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray, 
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

One of my favourite poems.  I learnt it at school, and it has been with me ever since.  I especially love, and respond to, the first line of the second verse.  Could anything be more soothing, or offer such balm.

Yesterday we walked up to Hopes Reservoir, tucked away in the Lammermuir Hills.  
The heather is out, and as we walked, away to my left, I could hear a hum coming from a bee-loud hillside.  Hives, placed at the foot of the purple slopes had clouds of bees hovering, and buzzing to and fro, and I could smell the heather as the wind blew down off the hill.  It was that moment when you take the lid off the jar of Scottish heather honey, at weekend breakfast time.  The best honey in the world!  Yes, yes, I know there are other exquisite honeys, but heather is my favourite!  It takes me to the hills, just as we were then.
Juniper is under threat in the UK.  
Many of the bushes surviving now are over a hundred years old.  There seems to be a reasonably good number of juniper bushes on the lower slopes of the hills near Hopes Reservoir - which is excellent news, not just for populations of juniper bushes, but also for those of us who enjoy a gin and tonic!  And also for those who like to cook pheasant - another good pairing!
The dogs and I clambered up the very high steep grassy wall which contains the reservoir.  It was almost perpendicular!  At the top, looking across the water I could see, in the distance, the point at which we gaze down upon Hopes from Lammer Law, when I go on the mountain hare survey walk. 
We walked back along one of the overflow channels, which leads away from the reservoir, snaking off around the hillside, out of sight.  It crosses the track which we took, back down to the car.


  1. Heather was supposed to be my name, but my mum wanted to call me Sally. Scottish holidays and memories of happy family times. Thank you for the reminder. Beautiful photos. I walked with you. xx

    1. You always come to mind when we walk along burnsides! xx

  2. How lovely! I always think of you when I see the beach huts here! Xx