Bowmont Forest, July 2015. I always enjoyed my annual visits to The Scottish Borders. Catching up with the family against a backdrop of rolling fields and that famous big-borders-sky. I’d always make time for a wander through the town of Kelso, with a trip to Sainsbury’s to stock up on all the British delights I’d been deprived of throughout the year. An afternoon walk around Bowmont Forest with my dad, brother and dog Solo was another highlight. While my visits were usually timed for Christmas, this rare summer shot came following an eighteen-month stint in Asia. Everything felt so heightened; from the crisp country air and rich colors to the rustling leaves and crunching twigs underfoot.
Bowmont Forest, July 2015. This touching wooden bench sits in tribute to London-based art teacher and rock climbing enthusiast Jake Killick. On the 27th of August 2005 he was tragically killed while attempting to climb a precarious route known as The Russian near the English village of Symonds Yat. Jake’s friends described him as an experienced climber “who lived for the sport”.
Bowmont Forest, December 2016. Although I had no idea at the time, this would be my final Christmas in The Scottish Borders and my last walk around Bowmont. Sadly, it would also be my goodbye to Solo, who had to be put down just a few months later following a short illness.
Bowmont Forest, December 2016. While not as cold as the average Borders winter, some areas of the forest were pretty boggy that day and at times we had to carefully pick our way through the mush. This is my brother Cory contemplating his next move.
Bowmont Forest, December 2016. For me those walks around Bowmont Forest will forever be entwined with conversations about football, reminiscing about the good old days and talking of our hopes and plans for the future. In the back of my mind, I’d be thinking about the roast dinner that awaited me back at home, of the chocolates, the minced pies and cake. All the while Solo bounced about between the trees like a deranged rabbit, panting happily, pools of drool falling from his mouth.