Borders Heritage Festival 2017

Ruins of Dryburgh Abbey

Photo Credit: Bob Kelpie

Come and join us at the 9th annual Borders Heritage Festival and celebrate Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. There’s something in the programme for everyone with walks, talks, theatre, exhibitions and living history. I’ve chosen my favourite list but you’ll find the full list online here. Make sure you get your tickets booked soon as some events have limited spaces.  Pick up the full programme of events locally.  Remember to check all times and venues before heading out.

Lighting the Borders 1-3 September

The opening event Lighting the Borders has been designated a signature event for the Year of History Heritage and Archaeology 2017. Lighting the Borders will illuminate over 20 historic locations with story, song and light.   It will include events at Neidpath Castle, Hume Castle, Jedburgh Castle Jail, NewarkCastle, Eyemouth Fort, Riddell Tower, Old Parish and St Pauls Church Galashiels and Duns Law. Some of our most iconic, historical buildings will be flooded with blue light to mark this year’s special opening event including Peniel Heugh, Smailholm Tower and Fatlips Castle.

Light Years, Jedburgh Castle Jail, 1 september 19.00-21.30

A participative site-specific installation by Sue Scowcroft & James Wyness Light Years explores the deep history of Jedburgh Castle Jail. Visitors are invited to follow a star chart, superimposed on the ground plan of the castle, which maps out twelve locations around the Castle Jail and grounds. At these locations the visitor will find short poetic stories, intimate sharings left behind by people from the past, men and women, young and old, who may have passed through the site. The installation honours the work of the 18th and 19th Century ‘Borders Enlightenment’ scientists who were born or based in Jedburgh. FREE.  TD8 6QD.

Living history at Traquair until 30th September  11.00-17.00

A second chance to see this exhibition first shown in 2015 which brings together rarely displayed documents and examines the Traquair connection with the Jacobite cause. The Stuarts of Traquair were devout Catholics and remained loyal to the Stuart monarchy without counting the cost. Imprisoned, fined and isolated for their beliefs Traquair became the Jacobites’ most southerly Scottish stronghold. £8.80 adult, £4.50 child, £7.80 senior citizen. EH44 6PW.

Riddell Tower, Lilliesleaf 2 September 17.30

Illustrated Talk by Alison Martin in Old Laundry House at Riddell. A guided stroll through 9 centuries of Ridell family history, from Old Laundry House to Tower.  Followed by a   performance from Riddell Fiddles and a Norman Feast of hog roast.  Riddell Tower, Riddell Estate, Lilliesleaf, Melrose TD6 9JP. Entry £13.50 adult, £7 child.  The brave will have a chance to test their nerve as they climb the spiral staircase to the top of the 100ft Tower! The evening will culminate in a Torchlight procession back to Riddell House. Spaces very limited.  Tickets: or Tel: 07731 538941.  TD6 9JP.

Witchcraft, wights, myths, & authenticity 16 September 9.30-16.00, Heart of Hawick

A seminar exploring the enduring myths and stories of the Scottish Borders.  Speakers include: Dr Simon White, Reader in Romantic and Nineteenth-Century Literature at Oxford Brookes University,  Dr David Welsh, lecturer (retired), Northumbria University, and Tom Routledge.
Tickets £9, includes lunch/refreshments.  Tickets:   TD9 0AE

ILLUMINATING THE PAST, Hermitage Castle, Newcastleton (all month)

Discover a history filled with intrigue,murder, torture  & treason.  Soak up the eerie, powerful atmosphere of an imposing stronghold with a notorious reputation. Look for the garrison’s cesspit, seek shelter under the great arch and take part in the quiz for kids.  Tickets: Entry £5 adult, £3 child, £4 concession, free for Historic Scotland members. TD9 0LU.


Ranger led  Land Rover tour of the ancient Ettrick Forest and Newark Castle, the Douglas stronghold  to appreciate the surroundings of the beautiful Bowhill Estate.   By arrangement  with Bowhill Country Estate, Bowhill, Selkirk Tel 01750 2220.  Entry £30 adult (£20 child.  Note: minimum charge £60.  TD7 5ET

INSPIRING SCOTLAND EXHIBITION, 1-17 september Old Gala house, galashiels 

A selection of works in watercolours and pencil by Emma Herdman, inspired by the atmospheric landscape and beautifulbuildings of the Scottish Borders.  Entry Free. Work is available to purchase. Tue–Sat 10.00–16.00, Sun 13.00–16.00  Old Gala House, Scott Crescent,Galashiels TD1 3JS.

AERO LEATHER CLOTHING EXHIBITION, 1-17 september, Borders Textile Towerhouse, Hawick

Classic leather, vintage cool classic leather jackets, clothing and accessories based on period patterns and styles. For 33 years Aero Leather, have combined craftsmanship and top quality materials to produce their unique garments. The exhibition shows how the brand evolved and showcases key products.  Entry Free.  Mon–Sat 10.00–16.30, Sun 12.00–15.00.  Catwalk, Borders Textile Towerhouse, 1 Tower Knowe, Hawick. Tel:  01450 377615. TD9 9EN

PAX EXHIBITION, 13-30 September, borders textile towerhouse, hawick

Exciting  art by Isobel Hall – handmade books, bags and vessels. Hall is an internationally renowned mixed media and stitch textile artist who exhibits, teaches and travels worldwide.  Her current work focuses on her desire for peace.  There is a workshop to accompany the exhibition. Entry Free.  Mon–Sat 10.00–16.30, Sun 12.00–15.00.  Exhibition Room, Borders Textile Towerhouse,1 Tower Knowe, Hawick TD9 9EN.

OUT OF THE WOODS EXHIBITION, 16-30 September, Tweeddale Museum & Gallery, Peebles

Exhibition celebrating the beauty of trees and the need to protect our natural environment.  Featuring work by Tessa Asquith-Lamb, Catriona Andrews, Stuart Dalgleish, Helen Kemp, Eben Rautenbach, Kenneth McQueenie and Rob Sutherland. From hand turned wooden bowls, prints, paintings and wildlife scenes burnt onto reclaimed wood to abstract sculptures made from driftwood and ceramic interpretations of trees.   Work is available to purchase.  Entry Free.  Mon–Fri 10.30–12.30 & 13.30–16.00,Sat 9.30–12.30 Tweeddale Museum & Gallery, Chambers Institution, High Street, Peebles. EH45 8AG.


A guided tour that will give you a brief history of the Commentator’s house and the Abbey. There are green men, piss pots ,inkwells, posset pots, spectacles, heartcaskets and much more. Tours: 11.00, 12.00 & 14.00. Entry £6 adult, £3.60 child, £4.80 concession.  Free for Historic Scotland members.   Melrose Abbey,  Abbey Street, Melrose TD6 9LG.

THIRLESTANE CASTLE & THE MAN WHO RULED SCOTLAND, 3 September 18.00, Thirlestane Castle, Lauder

An exclusive evening guided tour of the state rooms and family collections Thirlestane Castle. Followed by a talk on one of its most famous (and controversial) 17th century residents, the Duke of Lauderdale, Secretary of State to Scotland.  Entry £12 including a glass of wine. Booking required Tel: 01578 722430 or email  TD2 6RU.

EXHIBITION: HISTORY OF NORHAM & LADYKIRK, 9-10 September, Sat 11.00–16.00, Sun 10.00–16.00, Norham

Exhibition  focusing on the Cross Border communities of Norham and Ladykirk. Includes Village Life, Norham Railway and Salmon netting on the Tweed. Evening Film Show – Norham 1977 and other short films of local interest at 19.00 on 9 September. Disabled Access Ramps and Toilet are available at the Village Hall.  Donations welcome, refreshments available.
Entry Free.  Village Hall, Castle Street, Norham TD15 2LQ.

YES ARTS FESTIVAL, 11-14 september, Yarrow, Ettrick & Selkirk – various venues 

A contemporary arts festival in the heart of the Scottish Borders.  The Festival brings together local artists and makers and their communities, with invited guests from further afield, in
a celebration of the unique culture and landscape of this beautiful area. This year the  festival welcomes Scots Makar Jackie Kay and acclaimed dance company Du-dendance. Explore the area through film, art, music and dance.  Let out your inner bard in the poetry challenge.  Or try your hand at making a Mile Marker.  Entry Various.

14 september, 14.00, Jedburgh 

Illustrated talk by Isabel Gordon.  Discover how Mary Somerville transformed herself from a young woman with an extremely limited education into a renowned mathematician, best-selling science writer and astronomer who predicted the existence of Neptune.  Entry Free. Booking required through Live Borders (Libraries & Archives) Tel: 01750 726400 .  The McDonald Dryburgh Room, Millfield Gardens, Canongate, Jedburgh TD8 6ER

MONTEATH MAUSOLEUM HERITAGE WALk, 19 september, 10.00–15.00, Ancrum

The walk will start and finish at Ancrum Village Green.  Participants should bring a packed lunch and have suitable clothing and footwear.  There will be a talk by Dr Chris Bowles on the Ancrum section of the walk and a talk by David Freeman on Monteath Mausoleum.  Depart from Ancrum Village Green, Ancrum
Entry Free. 7.6miles – approx 5 hours.

Get the latest updates:

Visit the Borders Heritage Festival website
Like on Facebook/Borders Heritage Festival
Follow on Twitter @BHeritageFest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *