What’s on October 2017

October apples and leaves

With October and Autumn in full swing we look forward to celebrating Hallowe’en with ghost walks and tours. We have indoor and outdoor activities, with Scott’s Selkirk Festival, the Traditional Skills Fayre at the Hay House Centre and the small but perfectly formed Berwick Literary Festival.  Something to get everyone out before we hunker down for winter.

Scott’s Selkirk 6-8 October

Music, mirth and more in the historic market town of Selkirk.  Children’s activities, steers entertainment, strolling entertainment, market stalls, Saturday evening concert and Sunday afternoon ceilidh.  Something for everyone.

Looking Back – Traditional Old Skills Fayre, Hay Farm, Ford   6-8 October 10.00-16.00

Watch horses working along with vintage tractors.  Learn abut old working skills and then visit the indoor market which offers local food producers and crafters.  A very relaxing event.  TD12 4TR

Berwick Literary Festival 19-22 October

A small and friendly book festival in the historic walled town of Berwick on Tweed.  The festival prides itself in not only attracting speakers on national renown but also promoting Northumberland authors.  This year includes poetry publisher Neil Astely, debut novelist Polly Clark (much praised by Margaret Attwood), the rock guitarist Dave Randall and Private Eye cartoonist Tony Husband.  Make sure to leave time for a walk along nearby Spittal Beach.

Rolling Hills Folk Club, Smith Memorial Hall, Darnick, 20 october 19.30

Singers and musicians welcome, as well as music lovers of all ages.  TD6 9AH

Edward & Eliza & the Smashing of the van, Straightforward Theatre, Bowhill Theatre, Selkirk 20 october 20.00

A couple struggling to make a living from their small shop in 1867 Ireland, against the backdrop of Irish Republicanism.  Booking essential.  Tickets £12/£10 (under 16).  Optional pre-there supper available for £13. TD7 5ET

Hallowe’en at Ford & Etal 23-31 October, 11.00 – 16.00

Half term Hallowe’en fun for all the family throughout the week.  Join in if you dare.

A jacobite Ghost Tours, Traquair House, Innerleithen, 27 & 28 October 19.00 & 21.00

Characters from the past come alive and tell you their tales of daring deeds and frightening times as they struggled to support the Jacobite cause.  Tour finished in the 18th century dining room with a glass of mulled wine.  the 1745 Cottage Restaurant will be saving Hallowe’en suppers.  Booking advised as tickets limited.  Adults £12/Children £8 (turn not suitable for children under 8 or those with a nervous disposition).  Tours lasts around and hour. EH44 6PW

Ghost Walk, Bowhill House, Selkirk 27 & 28 october 

Family ghost walk in the grounds of Bowhill.  Discover ghastly ghouls in Bowhill’s past.  Alas not suitable for under 2s and not buggy or wheelchair friendly.  Three times for walks 18.00, 19.15 and 20.15.  £9 adult £6 child.  Booking essential as tickets are limited. Tickets from www.borderevents.com.  TD7 5ET

Please check all venues and ticket requirements before you leave home.


Gin Tasting at Lilliard Gin

Lilliard leaflet

My friend and I recently joined an afternoon gin tasting at Lilliard Gin.  The gin is distilled in small batches in a tiny former cowshed turned distillery.  The ingredients are found and foraged in the Scottish Borders and the water is from a local spring.  The gorgeous little copper still is called Donald and is one of the smallest stills in the UK (photo kindly taken by Lilliard Gin).  Normally stills are given a female name but he’s named after a local character, with flowing copper locks,  who we were told frequents the Cross Keys bar ( a favourite of ours for food) in nearby Ancrum.  The gin is named after Borders legend and local heroine Lilliard who fought (and died) at the Battle of Ancrum Moor, against the English in 1545.

Copper gin still

A Still Named Donald

The Taste

During our tasting we went through 3 stages.  We sniffed, smelled and then tasted.  Then we  dropped in a few ices cubes, which released the most wonderful aromas, and tasted again.  Finally we added tonic and happily finished our drink.

It’s a floral gin with some complex citrus notes.  Angelica, softened by rosehips and a tiny bit of liquorice.  There are a couple of secret ingredients, described as “putting your face in handful of warm hay freshly mown on a summers day”.  Best served with a good tonic (Fentimans Botanical Tonic Water  from just across the Border would be my choice) and sliver of orange rind.  Though I may just drink it neat over ice with a sliver of orange rind.  The essential oils in the orange do bring out the flavours well.

You can buy the gin online from Lilliard Gin or from a variety of local stockists, including the Village Shop in Ancrum.  There’s also a Lilliard Gin candle.  And there may be another gin next year from this small but perfectly formed distillery.

Make Your own Gin

You can also learn how to distil and create your own unique gin.  After an introduction to gin and distilling, you can choose your flavours .  You then work with a tiny copper still to distill and build flavours to create your own gin blend.  A 20cl bottle of your own gin is included in the course price, as are gin tastings and a cocktail demonstration if there’s time.  Only for over 18’s, for obvious reasons.  Classes run 12.00-16.00 and cost £65

How to Find Lilliard Gin

Lilliard Gin is based at Born in The Borders, alongside an award winning brewery, restaurant, coffee shop and deli.  Not forgetting the all age grass sledging and the resident ospreys – Samson and Delilah.  Born in the Borders is located at Lanton Mill, Jedburgh TD8 6ST, just off the A698.

Open 11.00-15.00 on Saturday and Sunday.  It’s a small distillery so make sure to check it’s open, if you’d like a micro-tour of the distillery,  before you leave home.