Some photos taken around the site of Wholehope on November 4th 2016.  The original plan had been to make the trip at Easter 2016 to mark the 60th anniversary of my first visit, but the hectic nature of a retired lifestyle got in the way!

I have added some verses and the chorus of my version of ‘The Canny Shepherd Laddies of The Hills’ as regularly sung around the fire at what was a very special place for so many adventurers in the 1950s.

There's songs aboot oor soldiers and oor sailors by the score,
Of tinkers and of tailors and of others there's galore;
But I'll sing ye aal a song that you've nivvor heard afore,
Aboot the canny shepherd laddies o' the hills.

Version 2A view showing the last remaining stones of the cottage, with Peat Law to the left and Kidlandlee forest on the right.

Oh the shepherds of the Coquet, of the Alwin and the Rede,
Of the Bowmont and the Breamish, they are aal the same breed,
Wi' their collie dogs ahint them and a stick with horned heid
They're the canny shepherd laddies o' the hills

w3-1Looking from the estimated position of the front door over to the lambing shed.

They are oot among the heather lang afore the break o' day,
And round by the peat hags they will surely wend their way,
If they see a ewe that's sickly or a one that's gone astray
Whey they're the canny shepherd laddies o' the hills.

w4-1Looking south from just in front of the cottage.  The 1970s forest has been clear felled and new trees planted.  The ancient track of Clennell Street is still clearly visible running in a southeasterly direction from right to left.

Oh the shepherds of the Coquet, of the Alwin and the Rede,
Of the Bowmont and the Breamish, they are aal the same breed,
Wi' their collie dogs ahint them and a stick with horned heid
They're the canny shepherd laddies o' the hills

w5-1Looking over to Kidland forest with memories of cutting logs in the old forest that followed the line of the burn on the left side of the photo.

Now they aal gan down to Alwinton tae see the Shepherds' Show
Then into Foreman's pub with their cronies they will go,
They will argue and discuss, but fecht, well bless me no
They're the canny shepherd laddies o' the hills.

w6-1My first skiing experience was on this track.  We arrived at Wholehope late one Friday night with our newly bought ex-army hickory skis (about 6 feet eight inches long) and we set out a course in the snow using tilley lamps and storm lanterns as slalom gate markers.

Going down was fine but stopping was a big problem which we solved by just running into the five-bar gate still visible in the approximate centre of the photo.

Oh the shepherds of the Coquet, of the Alwin and the Rede,
Of the Bowmont and the Breamish, they are aal the same breed,
Wi' their collie dogs ahint them and a stick with horned heid
They're the canny shepherd laddies o' the hills

w8-1The ‘lambing shed’ is still used by the local shepherd but architectural changes have been made and the original door has been blocked off.  That’s Maurice Bulmer trying to hide behind the railway sleeper.

w7-1

A last look back, taken from the forest road that runs behind the cottage.  Provision of this road led directly to the closure of Wholehope as a YHA hostel.  Undesirable folk could get easy access via motor bike or car and the place was closed in about 1964.

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