Sacred Place, Talla Water, Tweedsmuir.
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The valley formed by the tumbling Talla Water to the east of
Talla Reservoir in the Tweedsmuir hills is a magical place to
visit at any time of year. This little valley is steep sided and
littered with about 20 large glacial erratic boulders, many
weathered into strange and evocative shapes. The valley floor
alongside the Talla Water is also littered with drumlins, small
mysterious hillocks deposited when the glaciers retreated after
the last Ice Age. The whole area has an strange atmosphere and
can be quite spooky when weather and mood combine favourably.
Its almost as if you are surrounded by burial mounds and recalls
scenes from Conan the Barbarian.
Take the Tweedsmuir turn off from the A701 and follow the road
past Talla Reservoir. Ascend the single track steep hill road
alongside the waterfalls at Talla Linnfoots. At the small bridge
follow the track that runs alongside the Talla Water. The track
eventually ends but simply follow the course of the stream. Both
the stones and drumlins can be found along the sides of the
There is space at the bridge for parking and a small off road
lay-by can be seen just a few metres further up the road.
I visited this site many years ago to take some black &
white photographs, which actually won me 1st, 3rd and Best Print
in the Exhibition at my local camera club. This was almost 20
years ago and I wanted to return to see if the place still held
the same strange magic it did back then. I was not disappointed.
The weather was mostly dull and grey with the sun occasionally
breaking through and I was soon able to locate the same stones I
had found previously. They had lost none of their appeal and
although not recognised antiquities, they are still worthy of
being called ancient stones, such is the uncanny atmosphere of
At the higher reaches of the valley, the so-called ancient
burial mounds (actually geological features called drumlins)
begin to reduce in height and it was just before reaching the
open moorland that I had the strangest feeling that I was being
watched. It felt as if I was trespassing somewhere that I did
not belong but could see no-one about or on the hills tops. Even
as I write this, a shiver runs up my spine. The feeling was most
odd and very much akin that that experienced at 037 Black Knowe
in the Cheviot Hills. It would be most interesting to visit
again at night, perhaps under the silvery glow of a full moon.
Best not go alone, mind you!