(This is the second in a three part series on St Andrews. If you missed it, start with part 1.)
Having seen most of what the town (village?) of St Andrews has to offer, today I set off into the Scottish hinterland–or rather, I walked along the idyllic Lade Braes. A lade is a man-made stream or canal used for powering mills or simply supplying water. The Lade Braes has been unused for quite some time, but the locals have kept the trails along it well maintained.
There’s not a whole lot more to say about it. After a while the official Lade Braes Walk ends, and the path and the lade part ways, but I continued walking on other paths, of varying quality. I had passed a few people on the Lade Braes Walk, but there were none on the smaller paths I continued on. This was a little strange as there were clear tracks in the mud–both man and beast (dogs, I assume), and apparently recent.
The most interesting occurrence of the day, by far, was the finding of a leather-bound journal on the ground near the end of my walk. The muddy, narrow path I had been following opened up into a clearing with a mound of what appeared to be white sand at the center of it, and at the edge of it were “The Notes of Heather Lawersson”. The entries were all dated in April and May–the last one being May 29th–and though there was no year, it was clearly at least several years old, and possibly up to several decades. She seems to have been researching folk religions, with a particular interest in those native to Scotland.
She was apparently in St Andrews–with its history as a religious center–attempting to record what I would call Wiccan or neopagan practices. As far as I could tell, the pile of sand in the center of the clearing where I found the journal is called the “Witches’ Mound”, and is what drew her here.
I’m sad to report that I became so intrigued by the find that I stood there reading it, neglecting to note that I had the camera in my other hand, turned on, and the battery completely drained. (It had already been in near constant use since we got to the UK, after all.) I managed to get the pictures you see above off the camera, and once the battery charges I’ll upload some pictures of the journal–though I’m not sure how well her faded scrawl will come out.