Diary of Events
The events listed here are for your information and enjoyment and are provided in good faith. They may be cancelled or altered by the organiser which is out-with our control. We recommend that you check with the venue/their website for full details.
Due to the changing covid-19 restrictions, please use the hyper-links provided for each visitor attraction, venue and event – they are updating their own websites with information regarding opening times, booking requirements etc. This will give you the best picture of what is on offer at the time of your stay at Kirkton Cottage.
Border Common Ridings – Summertime
Unfortunately due to ongoing restrictions imposed for the Covid-19 pandemic, most of the Borders Common Ridings have been cancelled for 2021.
Border Common Ridings and Festivals run throughout the summer each year where towns mark local traditions by ‘riding the boundaries’ on horseback. There is a lot more history to these than might first meet the eye, here is a link that may better help you understand what is going on…..
Scotland Starts Here is a free app that helps visitors explore the region, learn its myths, legends and songs, and find the right itineraries for great experiences.
The Scotland Starts Here app is free to use and can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play store.
Kelso Farmers Market – The Square, Kelso
Now up and running again on some Saturdays. Please click the link to check for dates.
Held on the fourth Saturday of the month in Kelso Square from 9.30am till 1.30pm.
Range of Local Produce from the Borders on offer:
Aberdeen Angus beef, pork and bacon, venison and wild game, free-range chicken, savoury pies, pates, fresh and smoked.
With brand new stalls and up to 18 local producers attending the market each month, there is an outstanding range of fish, olives, fresh bread (continental and traditional recipes) scones and cakes, desserts, jams, honey, chutneys and preserves, Scottish cheeses and butter, free-range eggs, wide range of fresh vegetables, home-made ice cream, fudge and tablet, ciders, ginger wine, hand made jewellery, soaps and body care products, knitted and hand-crafted items, garden plants.
The World of Peter Rabbit Nature Trail at Floors Castle – Summer 2021
Discover the incredible world of Peter Rabbit this summer at Floors Castle
Join Peter Rabbit and his friends for an action-packed, educational Nature Trail through the gardens and woodlands of Floors Castle.
All young explorers will receive a fun filled activity trail booklet and map, packed with exciting tasks and challenges to take part in along the way and at home.
The trail will run 7 days a week from 26th of June – 31st of August, 10.30am- 4pm
*Please make sure you bring a pencil to fill out your Activity Booklet.
Trail Admission Prices
Children must be accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket**
Each adult ticket admits up to 2 children per adult free of charge. Any additional children are charged at £2.50 per trail.
(Annual Pass holders get entry for up to two free children the first time they visit the trail. They will have their passes initialled by our kiosk attendant and the next time/s they use their pass the children will be charged at £2.50 per child. There will be no cost for the adult. Annual Pass holders can visit the trail as many times as they wish)
Tickets can be purchased on your arrival from both our Ticket Kiosks
Here are a few tips and bits of information for you to remember when you visit our Nature Trail…
Enjoy Picking your own fresh berries
BORDER BERRIES, RUTHERFORD FARM, KELSO, TD5 8NP
There’s also a fab wee cafe and a little playwark on site selling teas and coffees, light lunches and delicious home baking.
Strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants & tayberries.
Check the website for availability of fruit types and a daily weather update. Enjoy !
EDINBURGH ROYAL MILITARY TATTOO
CANCELLED FOR 2021
From its early days, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo has been an international favourite.
Performers from over 48 countries have taken part in the Tattoo, and around 30 per cent of the 220,000 audience each year are from overseas.
Each year’s Tattoo is very much a ‘global gathering’ – showcasing the talents of musicians and performers from every corner of the globe.
In addition to this, the Tattoo has been televised in more than 40 countries. An annual television audience of 100 million watches the coverage worldwide.
The international flavour of the Tattoo has been deliberately developed as a key element in its capacity to entertain a huge, cosmopolitan audience.
The Tattoo’s unique ability to bring together thousands of people for this annual celebration of music and entertainment continues and the public’s appetite for pomp and ceremony shows no sign of diminishing.
To find out whats on and to book tickets visit :
26th August 2021, Macbeth, Thirlestane Castle, Lauder
MACBETH – OPEN-AIR THEATRE, THIRLESTANE CASTLE, LAUDER
Thursday 26th August 2021
Pedalling from venue to venue with all of their set, props and costumes on the back of their bikes, the HandleBards are a four-strong troupe of actors who are spending the summer bringing environmentally sustainable Shakespeare to venues across the UK.
Join the all-female troupe on the front lawn, with the castle as a stunning backdrop, for a bicycle-powered production of Shakespeare’s classic.
Forget the tears and tragedy – this is a frantic, delirious, full-of-beans show like you’ve never seen before.
Bring a picnic and something to sit on during this summer outdoor performance and enjoy a different take on this Shakespeare tragedy.
Find out more: https://www.handlebards.com/tickets/macbeth-thirlestane-castle/.
27th August 2021 -21st Century ABBA, Floors Castle, Kelso
Dig out your flares and platform boots
We are incredibly excited to be welcoming 21st Century ABBA to Floors Castle this August.
Chapterhouse presents one of the most entertaining and exhilarating events of the summer with music from one of the UKs finest ABBA tributes 21st Century Abba.
This is an evening of hit after hit with songs you know and love from Waterloo, Mamma Mia, Take a Chance on Me, Super Trouper to many, many more! 21st Century Abba faithfully recreates all the greatest hits of one of the world’s most famous group combining stunning vocals, live musicians, and glittering costumes.
Dig out your flares and platform boots, dress up and come along with family and friends, picnic in beautiful surroundings and enjoy a wonderful performance of ABBA’s greatest hits!
What could be more fun in the summer sun!
Doors open 6.30pm, 7.30pm start
Tickets will be available for purchase soon
Be the first to know when the Box Office opens by signing up to our newsletter.
Adults – £19
Under 16 – £11
Prizes will be given for the best dressed!
Edinburgh International Festival
Every August, the Edinburgh International Festival transforms one of the world’s most beautiful cities, presenting three exhilarating weeks of the finest creators and performers from the worlds of the arts.
Edinburgh’s six major theatres and concert halls, a few smaller venues and often some unconventional ones too, come alive with the best music, theatre, opera and dance from around the globe.
To find out whats on visit :
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
What makes it special?
- Totally open-access, the Fringe is proud to include in their programme anyone with a story to tell and a venue willing to host them.
- Audiences can enjoy theatre, comedy, dance, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, physical theatre, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events.
- It’s a magnet for creative producers, the industry and the media making it the biggest and most dynamic international arts market in the world.
14th – 15th August – ‘Scottfest’, Abbotsford House, Galashiels
Join us on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th August to celebrate Sir Walter Scott’s 250th birthday in style at this new annual family festival inspired by the life and works of the legendary author.
During the weekend, access to Abbotsford will only be possible with a festival ticket, available online or at the Abbotsford Visitor Centre. Early bird tickets with a 10% discount available now until Sunday 8th August! Tickets also include free entry to Scott’s historic home, chapel and gardens.
🏹 Shooting demonstrations from Ettrick Valley Archers’
🦅 Displays of fine birds and handling sessions from Falconry Scotland
🐐 An interactive stable with animals to meet including Billy the fortune telling goat
🍲 Living history stalls featuring demonstrations of 15th- 16th century cookery, weaponry and surgery
🎶 A busy programme of traditional music and dance from Riddell Fiddles, Gaita, Borders pipe bands and more
💪 A tug of war between two fearsome local teams
🍔 A variety of delicious food and drink including the popular The Haggis Box
There is also a shadow puppet film by Bannerfield Buskers ‘The Battle of
Philiphaugh – from Scott’s Minstrelsey’ premiering during the festival, with showings taking place in Abbotsford’s chapel. And Alasdair Hutton, writer and narrator, known as the ‘voice of the Edinburgh Tattoo’, will be signing copies of his children’s books, which are set at Abbotsford.
Edinburgh International Book Festival
14th – 30th August 2021
Visiting the Festival – plan ahead and book you tickets
Set in a specially created tented village in the heart of Edinburgh, the Edinburgh International Book Festival offers something for just about every age and interest, bringing readers and writers together for inspiration, entertainment and discussion.
The Book Festival welcomes around 1000 authors in over 900 events for adults and children each year including novelists, poets, scientists, philosophers, sportsmen, illustrators, comic creators, historians, musicians, biographers, environmentalists, economists, Nobel and Booker prize-winners and many more besides.
Full details of the programme, including authors, themes and events with BSL interpretation and captioning will be available here from mid-June.
Entry to the Book Festival Village is FREE and EVERYONE is welcome! There is much to enjoy during a visit to the Book Festival, it’s not only about the events. The Festival’s home, the beautiful, leafy Charlotte Square Gardens (at the west end of George Street, a minute’s walk away from Princes Street), is a wonderful space in which to sit, talk, think, play and be entertained. Our tented village is expanding out to George Street this year with two new venues and seating areas so there are even more opportunities to relax and be entertained. You can see a favourite author, join in a workshop or debate, enjoy a cuppa in the café, a beer or a wee dram in the Spiegeltent, or simply park yourself on the grass (with or without a book) and soak up the atmosphere.
The festival run two independent bookshops in Charlotte Square Gardens – one for adults and one especially for children. They stock thousands of titles by visiting authors plus a wide array of contemporary literature, with all proceeds going directly back into the Book Festival. This year, we also have a pop-up Booksales Hut on George Street, stocking a small selection of titles.
There are plenty of refreshments on site with three cafés offering a variety of fairtrade hot and cold drinks, light snacks, yummy cakes and ice-cream plus a fully-licensed bar.
And there is a mini-festival called Unbound – it takes place in the Spiegeltent from 9pm until 11pm and offers authors the opportunity to try new approaches. You can expect a mix of literature, music, a good glass or two of the fine stuff and a few surprises. It is absolutely free, so come along one evening with some friends and soak up the atmosphere. The full programme will be announced in July.
Remember, entry to the Book Festival Village is FREE and EVERYONE is welcome!
Why not book for a festive stay at Kirkton Cottage!
Friday 10th – Sunday 12th September 2021
Scottish Borders Walking Festival
The Scottish Borders Walking Festival has been confirmed for …..
The Scottish Borders Walking Festival first took place in West Linton in 1995 and since then has moved around the area on an annual basis. It is the longest established walking festival in Scotland.
The festival is overseen by Scottish Borders Council and organised each year by different Borders’ communities. It normally takes place in the first week of September, with 3 to 5 walks per day of varying lengths, and includes a programme of evening entertainment.
4th – 5th October 2021 – new dates
Border Union Championship Dog Show, Kelso
Border Union are very pleased to announce that we are bouncing back in October. The Kennel Club have kindly granted us permission to hold our Ch Show on the 4th and 5th October, with the group split as it would have been in June, i.e. Gundogs, Hounds and Terriers on the 4th and the Working, Pastoral, Utility and Toys on the 5th. This obviously is dependent on permission from the local council and Public Health Scotland and the restrictions that may be in place at the time of the show.
Updates and further info will be posted here and on the Border Union Dog Show Facebook page, as well as on the Fosse Data website and the Border Union website. We look forward to seeing everyone again in October.
Almost 6,000 dogs compete over two days
Over 200 breeds on display, including many well-known Scottish breeds such as the Golden Retriever, West Highland White Terrier, Rough Collie and Shetland Sheepdog
The opportunity to see the two breeds native to the Scottish Borders
Dogs competing for a spot at the world famous Crufts dog show, to be held next March.
More than 50 trade stands selling all things ‘doggy’
‘Spectator dogs’ welcome
Almost 6,000 dogs from over 200 breeds will be descending on Springwood Park in Kelso for the popular Border Union Dog Show – one of the largest events of its kind in Scotland as well as in the UK.
The show will see dogs and their owners from all over the British Isles and beyond compete in a bid to qualify for the world’s biggest dog show, Crufts.
The pedigree dogs taking part will be judged on a number of factors in the ring, including temperament and that they are fit, healthy and happy dogs that are good examples of their breed, as they compete for the ultimate ‘Best in Show’ prize.
The show is one of the largest gatherings of dogs in the UK and will see rare native Scottish breeds competing, such as the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Smooth Collie, Gordon Setter and Skye Terrier.
These breeds are bred in such small numbers today that they are considered by the Kennel Club to be at risk of disappearing from Scotland’s streets and parks. Alongside these breeds will be some of the more well-known Scottish native breeds such as the Golden Retriever, West Highland White Terrier and Rough Collie and Shetland Sheepdog.
The show is perfect for families researching the right breed of dog for them, and visitors will be able to meet the dogs themselves as well as talk to experts in each breed about finding a good breeder, what to expect from the breed, and training and care requirements.
The show is one of 37 Group and General Championship Dog Shows licensed by the Kennel Club throughout the year, which enable dogs to qualify for next year’s Crufts.
2nd – 7th November 2021 – new dates and venue
BORDERS BOOK FESTIVAL 2021 – Abbotsford House, Galashiels
Having previously shifted our dates to September, we’re on the move again! Abbotsford House in the Scottish Borders, the home of Sir Walter Scott, will stage this year’s festival in its grounds as part of the 250th anniversary celebrations of the life and work of Scotland’s greatest writer. Our dates have also nudged further into the autumn to give us the best possible chance of welcoming our authors and visitors back safely.
We look forward to seeing you in November.
Mid November 2021 – start January 2022 dates tbc
Edinburgh’s Christmas 2021
Events run from mid November through to start January. Click on the link below for a full view of whats on and when. Wrap up and enjoy !
31st December 2021 – Peebles Hogmanay Torchlight Procession event tbc
This Hogmanay, a magical parade of fire will shimmer its way through the beautiful streets of Peebles, bringing warmth and fun to the cold winter night. Carry a torch for charity and join us for a special start to the Hogmanay celebrations – it’s perfect for families, friends, couples, visitors – everyone!
The procession promises a spectacular start to everyone’s Hogmanay celebrations with its magical parade, music and local food and drink.
We look forward to bringing sparkle to Peebles this New Year’s Eve with you and your family!
Looking Ahead to 2022
26th – 28th March 2021 – Reivers Festival, Hawick – Online event due to Covid-19
Step back in time to the mid sixteenth century when the Borderlands were an area of constant feuding – when loyalties were to kinship rather than king and country and when “Reiving” was a means of survival.
Through music, drama and re-enactments experience what life was really like for the men and women in the Border Marches.
Hawick Reivers Festival aims to help visitors and townsfolk alike Experience, Explore and will endeavour to Explain day to day life in this violent and turbulent period of our history.
Fiercely loyal and independent, hard-working and prepared to fight for what they believed in these men and women of the 1500’s did much to shape the character of the modern day Borderers.
8th April – 11th April 2021 – postponed
Cancelled for April 2021 new dates to follow
Melrose Rugby Sevens Festival of Rugby
June (usual month for hosting this event)
Borders Book Festival, Melrose
|Come and enjoy five days of Borders Book Festival Fun|
A firm favourite – book early to avoid disappointment!
Things to See and Do (from previous events)
Get your taste buds tingling and enjoy the atmosphere in The Orchard with some of the finest food and drink from across the Borders and Scotland. In a giant stretch tent, Born in the Borders will keep the good cheer flowing with their finest beers, craft gins and will of course be popping a few bottles of festival fizz too! This year’s offerings for foodies include a welcome return for Alanda’s Seafood Grill with their fresh shellfish and their innovative twist on traditional fish and chips. New this year, Fire Dog Hot Dogs will be serving up their delicious hot dogs and artisan burgers for everyone to enjoy. The Fieldwork Café with their mouth-watering selection of cakes, sandwiches and teas will also be joining us for the first time along with The Crepe Shack with their lovely sweet and savoury crepes.
Regular favourites Crema Caravan from Galashiels will be back this year to tempt everyone into trying their delicious, freshly baked creme brulees. You can also savour a great selection of artisan coffees and scrumptious homemade brownies from Linton & Co. Coffee, served from ‘Bernard the Citroen H Van’.
If you’re short of time between events, then beer, wine and coffee are all available in Harmony Garden from Born in the Borders Harmony Bar and Charlie Mills Coffee’sconverted horse box. And don’t forget to try the mouth-watering selection of ice creams and sorbets served from ‘Beatrix’ the traditional Over Langshaw Farmhouse ice cream bicycle.
Baillie Gifford Festival Hub
Join us in the Baillie Gifford Festival Hub in Harmony Garden where you will find the festival bookshop and box office. There’s lots of space for browsing, buying and book signings and in the corner kids’ area, children can sit and read, try some colouring in and take part in some fun activities. The bookshop is open from 10am until late – plenty of time for shopping!
We run our own bookshop and all proceeds go directly back to the festival.
Events & Book Signings
All events last one hour unless otherwise specified, and book signings take place within the festival bookshop. Please check the board outside the bookshop for signing information.
Many of our events and activities don’t cost a penny.
Listen to a story at our Storytime events or sing along at our Bookbug rhyme sessions. Head to the Abbotsford Tipi for Knight School activities, help create a book in the Words plus Pictures = Book! drop-in sessions, learn some circus skills with festival favourites, Oli & Co and say hello to our friendly stilt-walkers who will be strolling around all weekend. WOWEE!!
Come and explore the Orchard – a family-friendly space for relaxing, where many of our activities also take place.
All accompanying adults go free!
We’re delighted to announce that there is NO ENTRY CHARGE for adults accompanying children to Family Book Festival events.
Please note that all events are ticketed, so remember to put your FREE adult ticket in the basket at the time of booking.
Early June 2021 – Hawick Common Riding
Event cancelled for 2021
The Hawick Common-Riding is the first of the Border festivals and celebrates both the capture of an English Flag in 1514 by the youth of Hawick at a place called Hornshole and the ancient custom of riding the marches or boundaries of the common land.
The Cornet for the year is elected at the beginning of May, well in advance of the festival proper, when the Provost’s Council, on the recommendation of the two previous Cornets (called the Right and Left-Hand Men) invites a young man to act as Cornet. The Halberdier, accompanied by the Drum and Fife Band, carries an official letter of invitation to the nominated Cornet. Invitation accepted, the Officer is rewarded with a new “shilling” and asked to carry the Cornet’s letter of acceptance back to the waiting Council. Afterwards the Cornet with his two predecessors walk round the older parts of the town before attending a congratulatory Smoker. From then until the festival is over the Cornet is an honoured figure in Hawick. The first recorded Cornet was in 1703 and other than the World Wars there has been an unbroken line to the present day.
In the weeks preceding the actual Common-Riding, on each Saturday and Tuesday, the Cornet and his supporters are out on their ride-outs in the course of which they visit surrounding villages and farms. The main ride-out, however, usually two weeks before the Common-Riding weekend, is the twenty-four mile ride to Mosspaul and back.
While returning from the rideout on the Saturday before the Common-Riding the principals visit the Hornshole Lest We Forget Memorial to salute the memory of the youth of 1514.
On the Thursday evening of the week preceding the Common-Riding, the first of the Cornet’s Chases takes place up a hill called the Nipknowes on the way to St. Leonards Farm where a local caterer is asked to prepare the customary dish of “curds and cream” in readiness as a refreshment during the actual riding of the marches. This marks the end of the preliminary procedure.
The Common-Riding proper takes place in June on a Friday and Saturday. It had been the invariable practice to hold the riding of the marches on the last Friday in May, but the adoption by this country of the Gregorian Calendar, which removed eleven days from the year, forced the festival into June.
This important week begins on the Sunday with the Kirkin’ o’ the Cornet during a service in the church of which he is a member. This is preceded by the Cornet’s Church Parade in which the principals, together with the followers, walk from the Council Chambers to the church.
In the afternoon the Cornet’s Lass with the Lasses of the two previous Cornets travel to the Hornshole Memorial and lay a wreath.
For full details of this Common Riding which spans several days/weeks click on the link below.
Sunday 6th June 2021- Thirlestane Castle, Lauder Festival Of Motoring
Cancelled for 2021 – to return June 2022
BVAC Classic at Thirlestane
A Festival of Motoring
With more than 1200 vintage and classic vehicles of all shapes and sizes making the journey to Thirlestane, this is one of the biggest and best car rallies in the whole country. For just a taster look at our ‘Galleries‘ for a snapshot of previous years BVAC Classics. There’s something for everyone at the BVAC Classic.
Vintage, classic and quirky!
‘The best classic car festival in Scotland’
One of the Sunday Times top ten car events
Veteran, Vintage and Classic Cars, Motorcycles, American Cars, Commercial, Agricultural and Military Vehicles will be on show.
A Festival of Fun – a fabulous day out for the whole family with superb attractions, entertainment, live music, shopping, craft village and ‘Taste of the Borders Fair’. All set against the backdrop of magnificent Thirlestane Castle, one of the oldest and finest castles in Scotland.
Sporting Bears Dream Rides
We look forward to welcoming back Sporting Bears in 2020. This is a fantastic opportunity to take a ride in the car of your dreams. The car’s owner will take you on a drive through the Borders countryside, simply for a donation to charity.
Melrose Festival Week
Mid June 2021
Cancelled for 2021 – to return June 2022
- Monday – Rideout leaves the Greenyards 6pm (cavalcade of around 200 horses led by the Melrosian and his officials). 9pm horses return to the Square, Melrose where the Melrosian makes a speech and awards are presented to riders. The Melrose Pipeband plays throughout the evening.
- Tuesday – Melrose Festival Fancy Dress, Gibson park, Melrose. 6pm judging commences followed by a parade round the town centre followed by a disco in Melrose Rugby Club for families. The Melrose Pipeband plays throughout the evening.
- Wednesday – 6.30pm from Gibson Park, Melrose – Melrose Festival Family Bike Ride followed by a family barbecue at Annay Road at 8pm.
- Thursday – 7pm installation of Melrosian and Crowning of Festival Queen at Melrose Abbey (Melrose Parish Church if wet)
- Friday – Fairground rides at The Triangle, Greenyards, Melrose. Melrose Festival Ball – ticketed event.
- Saturday Tour of Ceremonies – leaves Market Square 8.50am arrives back at Melrose Abbey 12pm. 2.30pm Sports in Gibson Park. 7pm Melrose Pipeband play in the Market Square, Melrose.
Instituted in 1938 to commemorate the town‘s history, with the “Melrosian” as the central figure. For viewing the Rideout, it is recommended to be in the Market Square for the start of the ride, which leaves the Greenyards Triangle, and if river levels permit, on either side of the Tweed for the crossing. The Newstead bank is accessed via Millmount Farm and the Gattonside bank from the Chain Bridge.
A rideout, fancy dress parade and community bike ride, among other events, lead up to Thursday‘s ceremony in the picturesque setting of Melrose Abbey, where the Melrosian is installed, the Festival Queen crowned and an oration given by a guest speaker. Saturday sees the Tour of Ceremonies to places of historic interest around the Melrose area. The final ceremony of the Tour takes place at Melrose Abbey, where almost 900 years of history are recalled when the granting of the foundation charter by David I is re-enacted. Children’s Sports and a Festival Dinner conclude the week‘s festivities.
Mid June 2021 dates tbc -Peebles Beltane Festival
event cancelled for 2021
Beltane signifies the fire of Bell or Baal and originated from the pagan Celtic festival. The festival was in honour of the power which in early summer gave light, warmth and growth. Wednesday evening sees the installation of the Cornet followed by the Riding of the Marches and a ceremony at Neidpath Castle. Following a series of horse races, the mounted procession leaves for the River Tweed and the evening ends with the dancing of the Cornet‘s Reel. After an early morning rideout on Saturday, Festival Day begins with the proclamation of the historic Beltane Fair and the crowning of the Beltane Queen, followed by a grand procession around the town.
Selkirk Common Riding – June 2021
event cancelled for 2021
An Early start for this event.
A ceremony at the War Memorial at 5.30AM. Ride-Out starts thereafter (6AM)
At least 400 years old and stems back to the time of the “Burleymen”, Burgh Law men who had the task of ensuring no one was encroaching on the town‘s common lands.
In 1513, 80 men from Selkirk followed James IV into battle at Flodden. Only one, Fletcher, survived to return, weary and wounded but bearing a captured English flag which he raised aloft and then cast to the ground. The Flodden legend came to be associated with the Common Riding, with the Royal Standard Bearer as the central figure and the casting of the colours of the main ceremony. The town rises early to follow the band and witness the bussing of the Burgh Flag. The Riding of the Marches lasts about 4½ hours and the riders return to the Market Place for the solemn casting of the colours where various trades and corporations are represented. Celebrations continue onto the next day with horse racing, and professional games.
Jethart Callants Festival 20th June – 11th July 2021
event cancelled for 2021
Inaugurated in 1947 and lasts over two weeks with ceremonial rides to places of historic interest. Various events and ride-outs throughout – see the link below for dates/events.
late June 2021
Galashiels Braw Lads Gathering
event cancelled for 2021
Established in 1930 to celebrate the town‘s history. Preliminary events precede the main ceremonies on the Saturday which begin with the Braw Lad receiving the Burgh Flag and leading his mounted supporters to the Raid Stane.
Recommended viewpoints for the Riding : 9.00am – Fording the River Tweed at Abbotsford – viewing either at the side of the river or above on the Tweed Bridge. 10.30 am – Old Town Cross at Church Street, Galashiels (non horse event) . 11.30am – Mounted cavalcade make their way around the town. Good viewing point at Scott Street.
The Braw Lad carries the flag over the River Tweed
Here in 1337 Gala lads killed English raiders in a field of wild plums. The ride continues with crossing the Tweed to Abbotsford and returns to the Old Town cross where the creation of Galashiels as a Burgh of Barony in 1599 is recalled. The ceremony of sod and stone (sasine) is enacted and red and white roses mingled on a base of thistles to commemorate the marriage of James IV of Scotland and Margaret Tudor. Sports and gymkhana bring the week‘s festivities to a close.
For timings please see https://returntotheridings.co.uk/galashiels-braw-lads/
early July 2021 Duns Festival Week
event cancelled for 2021
Instituted in 1949 to commemorate the town‘s history and traditions in a week of sports, concerts, rideouts and parades.
The 2020 Duns Summer Festival will take place on 5th to 11th July 2020. The Duns Law Service takes place on Tuesday 7 July 2020 and the Common Riding will be on Saturday 11th July.
On Monday night the Burgh Flag is handed to the Reiver for safekeeping. The next evening, he leads his mounted followers to the summit of Duns Law for a short service. Here in 1639 General Leslie’s covenanting army encamped to oppose Charles I who was preparing to cross the River Tweed and enforce a form of religion which the Scots found unacceptable. Wednesday is children‘s day in the Public Park. Friday sees the traditional game of “handba”, played between the married men and bachelors of the town. The final ceremonies on the next day include the Riding of the Parish Bounds, athletics and a fancy dress.
The Summer Festival at Duns was set up in the mid twentieth century and is a week long celebration starting on the first Sunday of the month with a wide selection of traditional events including sports, music , dancing and childrens entertainments. On the Tuesday, a cavalcade led by the Reiver make their way to the summit of Duns Law for a service commemorating General Leslie and the Covenanters’ encampment here in opposition to King Charles I in 1639.The traditional Handba game is played on Friday night (see separate article for Duns Ba). On the Saturday, there is a Common Riding boundary marking custom and also fancy dress, concerts and music.
July 2021 – Kelso Civic Week
event cancelled for 2021
Inaugurated in 1937 and includes a raft race, sports, gymkhana, concerts and rideouts to neighbouring villages.
Kelso Civic Week is a typical series of summer celebrations in the Border tradition dating back to the 1930s and including Common Riding. Common Ridings are a boundary marking custom on horseback. They are mainly held at locations across the Scottish Borders, perhaps because this area suffered from centuries of raiding and reiving between local families and the English, and the locals needed to protect their lands from encroachment. Long after this was necessary, the Ridings survived to become major festivals. The main rideout to Yetholm is on the second Saturday of the festival, but there are other rides including one to Floors Castle and the Whipman’s Ride on the Friday, which is the most traditional of the rideouts and follows the ringing of the Curfew Bell and an Oration. The main protagonist here is the Kelso Laddie with his supporters the Right Hand Man and Left Hand Man- expect a large cavalcade of over 100 equestrians and lots of cheering and flag waving. Other festival highlights include a variety of sporting fixtures, fancy dress, dances, fireworks and a torchlit procession.
start July 2021
event cancelled for 2021
The Newcastleton Traditional Music Festival
About the Festival.
Newcastleton Traditional Music Festival was first held in 1970, and grew out of the local Accordion and Fiddle Club that met in the Commercial Hotel (now the Liddesdale Hotel). From that initial one day event has grown the most welcoming and family friendly traditional music festival in Scotland!
Over the years there have been a range of competitions, but always based around accordion, fiddle and traditional singing. As fashions change, so has the popularity of various classes, but the core competitions are still going strong, and we love the interest shown in the children’s classes!
Concerts, ceilidhs, sessions, singarounds, and workshops add to the competitions to offer the festival goer plenty of choice, and of course the wonderful Copshaw Common Riding runs parallel to the festival as well – a spectacle that has to be seen to be believed!
30th – 31st July 2021
event cancelled for 2021
Border Union Agricultural Show
Springwood Park, Kelso
Traditionally the annual Show is held on the last Friday and Saturday of July each year in Springwood Park, forty-six acres of parkland on the outskirts of Kelso. The Showground is adjacent to the world famous Junction Pool of the rivers Tweed and Teviot with a magnificent view of the Abbey and the unique five arch bridge built in 1802 as a model for the old Waterloo bridge in London.
The Show includes competition for Horses, Ponies,Cattle, Sheep, Donkeys, Goats, Poultry, Rabbits, Shepherds’ Crooks, Horse Shoeing, Young Farmers Stock Judging and Industrial Arts, with over five hundred open classes. There are approximately 200 trade stands including farm machinery, crafts and gifts, motor vehicles, clothing, equestrian goods, food outlets and furniture retailers. There is also the ‘Flavours of the Borders’ Food Fair, a Children’s Fun Fair, Catering and Bars. These are open on both days and there is Main Ring family entertainment on the Saturday afternoon.
end July to early August 2021 – Lauder Common Riding
event cancelled for 2021
Sports, parades, dances and concerts precede the main events on the Saturday when the Cornet receives the Burgh Flag at the Tollbooth. He leads the mounted cavalcade to the Watering Stane and onto the Burgess Cairn, the only boundary stone still in existence. The proceedings conclude with a ceremony at the War Memorial and the return of the flag, with games and horse events in the afternoon.
Lauder Common Riding is one of the longest established customs in the Borders calendar, with records dating back hundreds of years. A series of other events like a fancy dress competition take place in the week leading up to the Riding itself. The riders mark the local boundaries, calling at cairns and stones along the way. The Cornet leads the cavalcade after receiving the Burgh Flag at the Tolbooth (also known as the Town Hall) at 7.30 am; on their return at around 11.30 there is a remembrance ceremony at the War Memorial. After a few prayers, lowering and raising of the flag by the Cornet and a minutes’ silence, the procession makes its way down the main road followed by dancing townsfolk to the Town Hall . The flag is returned, speeches made and prizes presented including “best turned out” and one for the oldest equestrian. A ball follows in the evening (tickets for this to be bought in advance).
Early August 2021 dates tbc Coldstream Civic Week
Inaugurated in 1952 and begins on a Sunday with the introduction of the Coldstreamer, the principal figure in the celebrations, and the bussing of the Burgh Flag.
As part of Coldstream Civic Week Coldstream Riders’ Association arrange four ride-outs. While Flodden on the Thursday is the longest and largest of these events with more than 300 riders taking part each year (460 in 2014 as this was the 500th anniversary of the battle of Flodden), between 50-100 horses will also join the shorter routes to Norham (Monday), Birgham (Wednesday) and Leitholm (Friday). Coldstream Riders’ Association also supports the wider programme of events arranged by Presenting Coldstream during Civic Week which includes a torchlight procession, fancy dress, the “Dub Dash”, pet show and the all important sashing and unsashing ceremonies which take place on the Sunday at the beginning of the week then the following Saturday respectively.
A week‘s activities follow with rideouts, gymkhana, sports and parades. The highlight of the week on the Thursday is the ride to the Flodden Memorial to commemorate the dead of 1513. Wreaths are laid, a short service held and an oration delivered by a guest speaker. Friday evening sees a torchlight procession and firework display. The Civic Week ends on the Saturday with horse racing, fancy dress parade, the return of the Burgh flag and Beating Retreat.Recommended viewpoints: Flodden Day, Coldstream High Street is the best place to see the horses leave the town 10.30am. Branxton Hill to see the cavalcade gallop up Flodden Hill, best to be in place by 12 noon.
Coldstream Civic Week