In the woodland at Black Middens I watched a pair of Redstarts feeding at least four young. These were the best views I have had of Redstarts in many years. There was also a very active family of Treecreepers in the wood, which added to the pleasure.
A short way down the road, a finger post directed me through a gate and across a field to a path through more old woodland on the burn side. I watched a pair of Grey Wagtails on the burn and was eaten alive by midges while standing still for half-an-hour trying to photograph a Wren.
It may be of interest to know that bastle houses are numerous along the border between England and Scotland. They are defensible farmhouses, defensible that is against raids by reivers between the thirteenth and sixteenth century. Bastle houses are characterised by stone walls often a metre thick, a generally vaulted ground floor where livestock was housed for safe keeping and family accommodation on the first floor accessed by a ladder which was pulled up from the inside at night (the ground floor entrance and external staircase shown in the picture below were probably additions after peace came to the Borders in the early seventeenth century). The windows were usually narrow slits and the roof would be made of stone slates. Today, most bastle houses are in complete ruin, some like Black Middens have only their walls standing, others in better repair are still used as store houses on farms and some are converted into comfortable homes.