|...That's Mac1 in the orange jersey -|
she moved just as the Fudge clicked
so rather cut off...
It was South, first, then. After pickup, we took off Westish towards the Meggat Valley. If you think that name rings bells, check back to this post. Long family history on my mother's father's side. Actually, despite hearing many a-times the chitter-chatter of such things amongst the elders, as is so often the case, much of it has sat dormant within me - and some of it twisted in with other parts of the family unrelated and thus contorting it somewhat. This trip turned out to be a bit of gem for sorting some of that out!
Aunty J, you see, is something of the family oracle. I don't think there is anyone else who has taken it on board to the same extent. Father, fortunately, has done some genealogical work on it, so we at least have that record.
Anyways, first we headed to the St Mary's Loch cafe. A greasy-spoon, bikies' hangout and not quite what I had in mind when I mentioned lunch. The oldies were very keen on it though, so I had to deal with a rather non-vegetarian 'vegetarian' all-day breakfast...
Those sausages were well 'suss' and don't even ask about the deep-fried tattie scone. I can still taste the horror. Egg, beans and hash brown were okay. The tea was tepid. Place was so busy the urn never got up to boil...
Still and all, we were filled and ready for the next leg, return via Yarrow kirk yard. The reason for this was passing me by a bit, until we got there. Grave stones beginning back in 1813. James Shiel, shepherd of that parish. After him came four generations of William Shiel, carrying on directly, the shepherding and hill-farm tradition. James is my four times great grandfather. We don't have any info prior to James - it's as if he just dropped into the valley... however, since starting this post, I have come across a wonderful archaeological report in which I find that the heritable tenant farm called as 'Shielhope' (pronounced 'sheelup') was recorded as early as 1702... which must surely have been James' father or perhaps even grandfather! More research needed on this, but it is a fact that the price of wool tripled between 1800 and 1818 and good shepherds held some status with the lairds, where almost everyone else was forced into crofting, kelping... or migration to 'furran lands'. James married Agnes Anderson, daughter of an Ettrick carpenter. He clearly was held in some esteem to warrant such a headstone. Agnes is laid here too. As are many of their children, all young.
William, though, survived and married Margaret Davidson; their son William married Janet Renwick - for whom aunty J is named, that being her grandmother. [Don't worry if you're not following; it just feels necessary to record here, somehow.]
Will and Janet's son William is my grandfather, but he and my grandmother Elison Clement are not buried here at Yarrow... they are in Hawick cemetery. They had been ousted from the original Shielhope due to the flooding of the valley for the reservoir. They took ownership of a hill farm above Galashiels. Uncle A still lives up there, but sold the smallholding and kept two fields, building a new home in one of them. It is called Shielhope.
The eldest brother was William, and he too was a shepherd, but moved away to be factor for a large land owner.