Hawick visit meeting a legend and the new Borders Distillery a great day. Working with sheep !

Hamish 78 still cycles 50 miles with his bike The Flying Scot a wonderful piece of Cycling history and Hamish a legend in the Borders.

Yesterday was a day with my great pals Lyle and Judy we had breakfast in Hawick

at a local cafe. The Almond Tree!

This is a community cafe set up in Hawick to help young people find jobs and training opportunities has been given a double cash windfall of £22,000.

The Almond Tree, opened in High Street in June 2014, offers work placements and life-coaching, with any profits made reinvested in youth work across the Borders.

Now the cafe, employing four members of staff, is one of five charities to benefit from a share of almost £38,000 being handed out by the Bank of Scotland Foundation. A great breakfast with lovely staff and superb local food.

Judy took of for some shopping and Lyle took me to meet a real character. Hamish D. Smith who is a clock fixer in the town.

What a man we had a great chat then in the shop I saw the Yellow Flying Scot wow. Hamish had already told me he was a cyclist but to see this bike and hear his stories it was wonderful. There is a clock above his shop that he made what a talented man and there is little he does not know about this town and the area. He was such a lovely man and I have found another hero of mine. I was spell bound at his tales and his humility. I never got a photo of the clock he built above the shop sadly I was just in awe of the man.

Flying Scot, The Scot (David Rattray & Co. Ltd.) Glasgow

There were other lightweight frame builders in Scotland but the most prolific and well known has to be David Rattray’s Flying Scot and The Scot which were built in Glasgow between 1928 and 1983.   The company manufactured approximately 15,000 frames which were a ‘must have’ amongst many serious club riders in Scotland.  Having said that, they did export some frames to England, Japan, British Guiana, Europe and the USA.

Although most of the frames were built to a racing specification they did cater for the tourer as well. It is said that frames built for touring were often badged ‘The Scot’ whereas the racing ones were ‘Flying Scot’.

One of the giveaway identifications for Rattray-built bikes is the strengthening piece on the inside of the fork blades from the crown down for about 5cm.

I remember my brother having one saving up for it and what a machine it brought me back to another era. Hamish still has the receipt for it he paid in 1960 £14 – 16 – 6

What a chat, what a man and thank you Hamish for a wonderful insight into a small piece of your life. The shop is full of magic from a replica Olympic Torch and of course the magic of a special man. Thank you for spending time with me. My clock that I treasure will be coming down to you soon for some TLC .

Next we went to the new Borders Distillery in the town. We had a great tour the best I have been on our guide Charlie was so passionate about this place and his work. It is a great insight into a superb idea and hopefully using the local barley and workers will bring more employment to the area. I was impressed not just by the product but with the total ethic of the idea and that everyone who works there plays their part in this exciting new project.

visit Scotland – The first Scotch Whisky Distillery in the Scottish Borders since 1837.

The Borders Distillery is the first Scotch Whisky Distillery to operate legally since 1837. Located in the middle of Hawick, it is housed in fully restored Victorian industrial buildings. Great care was taken to preserve the built heritage of the site and many original features were retained.

We are open from Monday to Saturday and tours run every hour on the hour from 10:00 to 16:00, cost £12, and feature a guided tour of the buildings, the distillery and a dram to finish.

The local Gin was superb as was the tour!

It was then back to Lyles and help with a few jobs with the sheep! Judy laughing at my “pathetic “attempts to hold her sheep while she cut its toes! I learned from that I was whining as only I can and photos to follow! Lyle was laughing all the time at my futile attempts. So were the sheep!

Sheep chickens eggs and learning pathetically how to hold a sheep ! A handy skill for a hill walker!

Then it was help trim a few apple 🍎 trees and more laughs and then a wander with Byron the 🐕 dog. The wildlife is incredible sparrow hawks buzzards, Badgers sets, horses, sheep and chickens so many magical hills it’s a piece of paradise here with two great pals.

Byron the dog surveying his property “this is my land “

We had a great meal and a few hours Tv then bed. Yesterday had been hard with the

media day in Lockerbie. I was mentally drained and needed this break with two great folk who understand me. Lyle has had a hard time with illness and Judy has so looked after him, They are special folk and have we laughed over the last few days! It is a great healer laughter,the fresh air and great friendship. I have had a special time and head home today with eggs and Apple 🍎 jelly !

I needed that to clear my head and get back on my bike to train for the Cycle to Syracuse !

Thanks to all the Cycle to Syracuse team and Lyle and Judy for a great time!

About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 36 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 4 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
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