The Carter Bar
This tune is by fiddler Jimmy Nagle (grandson of Tom Hughes). The Carter Bar is not a great session pub or even a watering hole but is the pass over the Cheviot Hills from England to Scotland (and vice-versa). The extensive view from the top warms the heart of every Scot returning to his homeland from the south.
The use of open strings and double stops in the tune is typical of the fairly heavy Borders style.
Nice tune, and I agree it’s a grand view.
If you are going over Carter Bar, call in at Carterway Heads - that is a watering hole - damn fine beer and food.
What a lovely tune. I’d like to hear more of his compositions!
Great name too, Carter Bar eh? The extensive view from the top warms the heart of every Northumbrian returning to his homeland from the north.
Jimmy’s best known tune is probably "Air for Henry" (as in Henry Douglas, who sings the song "Brundeanlaws", the hills you see from the Carter Bar).
It is a great view north from the Carter. Unfortunately the view looking south isn’t as good unless you get out of your car and climb up to Carter Pike (spot height 547 at 691049) - one of my favourite places on the Border (or just off it).
I believe there was a Scotsman who devoted his spare time to uprooting and moving the border fence up there, so as to annex that extra yard or so of England each time.
He needn’t have bothered. Defiant of improvement and impervious to change, that part of Northumberland (including any annexed territory) will remain as it ever was, hostile to any beast that can’t live on thistles and rushes. I can imagine noxious’s heart swelling with pride as he stands in the freezing blast looking southwards, surveying the glum wet deserts of Redesdale, head seething with ballads of atrocity and vengeance composed in the area’s cultural apogee when swarms of rustlers stole each other’s cattle on a nightly basis. Somewhere in Northumberland, England’s long reach expires. (Though don’t get me wrong, I like the place.)
Look north into the Scottish Borders and you’re immediately aware you’re looking into a much more important and central part of that country - something like its Home Counties; Edinburgh not so far away, important textile towns if they’re still working, more intensive farming. Also, dramatic views of the Eildon Hills, etc. I think the geography on its own is enough to offer a better view looking North.
More important? Are textile towns and intensive farming more important than a magnificent, unspoilt national park? Depends on your point of view I suppose. Hmm let me see, south of the border lies… the wild, windswept Cheviot hills and moorland, with dry stone walls and shepherd cottages and lush green valleys and babbling burns and mewing buzzards soaring in the skies. North of the border lies… a bunch of fields and Galashiels. Each to his own I guess 😉
Noxious, I still see you reciting “Chevy Chase” , spit freezing on your face…
You rose to it, noxious, I see! Point taken about Galashiels, I recall it as a pretty charmless place. Anywhere with moors, hills, trout streams etc. has the basic ingredients of what I like countryside to be, so natch that takes in Northumberland. I’m not motorised, so seldom go there, but all that stuff’s just 20+ miles out of Durham in Weardale, an easy bus ride.
A bunch of fields?
Eh? Excuse me! Ok, Gala is not particularly attractive. Nor for that matter is Hawick which is my nearest town. But where I live I’m surrounded by hills, moorland, babbling burns (they’re like brooks, only prettier), mewing buzzards and extensive forestry (Craik) - just like North Northumberland, except we don’t have rocky outcrops, wild goats or bombs. And are those lush green valleys of Northumberland not just full of a bunch of fields?
We do have a lot of sheep, though!
LOL both of you bit that one so fast. I’ll have to come clean here. I feel more at home in Coldstream and Kelso than I would in Edinburgh or Newcastle. It’s all home to me whichever side of the border I’m on.
PS one of my most enduring childhood memories is of the playground at Hawick. It was fantastic! The slides were the biggest I’d ever seen, and they even had trampolines and stuff.