This year’s event will be kicked off by Scotland’s top outdoor writer and presenter of the BBC Adventure Show, Cameron McNeish, who will appear at the festival’s opening night celebrations.
For twenty years, Cameron was editor of The Great Outdoors magazine and he currently writes regular columns in the Scots Magazine, Campervan Magazine, the Herald and for online magazine www.walkhighlands.co.uk.
His most recent best-selling book, There’s Always the Hills, with foreword written by Sam Heughan star of Outlander and also a walking enthusiast, won the 2018 ‘The Great Outdoors’ Magazine Book of the Year award Cameron will be giving a presentation on his book with a signing afterwards, while the evening will also see music from local performers Selkirk Silver Band and the Clarsach Duo, Madalaine Cross and Charlotte Tuckwood. Ticket holders to the First Night also receive a free goodie bag from our very generous partners, Innerleithen outdoor clothing company Findra. www.findra.co.uk
This year’s festival will see a total of 28 guided countryside walks of varied lengths and challenge, taking in routes across the Selkirk, Ettrick and Yarrow Valley areas - from the Southern Upland Way, the Grey Mare’s Tail Waterfall and the Ring o’ the Loch to the famous Three Brethren and many more.
There will be seven daily Free and Easy Strolls led by local experts and enthusiasts including a James Hogg Poetry walk in Ettrick, a stroll with a Bowhill Estate Ranger and a tour around the historic Ettrickbridge, led by village residents, old and young.
The festival will also see presentations on photography by Selkirk Camera Club and local history and culture by groups such as Discover Scottish Borders, the theatrical “Dr John Muir”, Selkirk doctor at the turn of the century, a pub quiz and of course what Scottish festival would be complete without a ceilidh? The popular local band Dere St will lead the fun on Friday 13th September - careful as you strip that willow!
The Scottish Borders Walking Festival began in 1995, making it the longest walking festival of its kind in Scotland. It is organised and run by volunteers for the benefit of the local community and visiting walkers. Every effort is made to keep costs down and many events are free or ‘Pay As You Please,’ like the Edinburgh Fringe.
The combination of beautiful Borders countryside, friendly local people, varied, affordable guided group walks and social events make it hard to beat. People come from all over the UK and abroad to take part and this year is going to be a bumper year.
Keith Robeson, Senior Ranger at Scottish Borders Council, who has been involved since the very beginning, said: “The Borders really lends itself to walking and the festival moves around different towns every year, so gives walkers plenty variety, while being held in September gives us an excellent chance of good weather in Scotland.”
Sue Briggs, Chair of the Festival Steering Group, added: “We’re really lucky to have the Selkirk Farmers’ Market and the Yarrow Show on during our festival week and the town will also be decorated with weird and wonderful hats as part of the Souter Stormer Yarn Bombers HatFest competition – Border Bunnets.”
“It is going to be a brilliant atmosphere.”
The festival is supported by Scottish Borders Council, Live Borders, Selkirk Community Council and Ettrick and Yarrow Community Council.
Councillor Tom Miers, Executive Member for Planning and Environment, added: “Having started in 1995, it is testament to the various organisers of the Scottish Borders Walking Festival that it is still going strong.
“Selkirk and the surrounding Ettrick and Yarrow valleys have so much to offer in terms of not only scenery but history which will attract local people and visitors.”
Find the Scottish Borders Walking Festival at www.borderswalking.com, and on Facebook and Twitter for updates, competitions and more.