Town going back in time for celebrations

Maistress of Scott's Selkirk, Viv Ross, and Sir Walter himself, actor John Nichol.
Maistress of Scott's Selkirk, Viv Ross, and Sir Walter himself, actor John Nichol.

Selkirk is set to be transported back to the old days of the shirra tomorrow as it celebrates the life and times of Walter Scott.

Born in 1771, Sir Walter, author of the classic novels the Heart of Midlothian and Rob Roy, became the sheriff-depute of Selkirkshire during the early 18th century.

Now, played by Selkirk actor John Nichol, the novelist and businessman will return to the Market Place courthouse to preside over cases once again.

Meanwhile, suitably-attired vendors will be selling their wares from the many market stalls along High Street.

Following on from the success of last year’s partnership with the traditional music festival, the Selkirk Sessions, tomorrow’s events will be running side by side.

To make that transformation happen, around 15 volunteers are expected to turn out at Market Place at 6pm tonight, though anyone else interested in helping out is encouraged to attend.

Viv Ross, of Scott’s Selkirk, told the Wee Paper: “We are all looking forward to welcoming you to a very happy family day.

“If you haven’t already got your costume these will be on hire at our Market Place shop, where you can get information on all the events throughout the day.”

She added: “The long-awaited streetscape project is currently under way in the town centre, and our thanks must go to Scottish Borders Council’s David Johnstone and contracts manager Rodney Pow for ensuring that there is safe, ample space for us to use the Market Place as normal.

“It’s exciting to think that next year when we set up for Scott’s Selkirk, it will be in our wonderful new events space.”

For now, Meg Dods’ Kitchen will be held at the Hermitage, courtesy of Allied Surveyors, with the main stage, stage one, just outside it on the High Street.

There, visitors can meet some of the of animals from the Scottish Borders Donkey Sanctuary at St Boswells and Billy Bowler, the performing goat from Les Amis d’Ono at lanton Mill Farm, near Jedburgh.

Alongside that will be a range of traditional childern’s games including splat the rat and a coconut shy.

Stage two will be located in the Market Place, where there will be various craft stalls.

This year will also see the town decorated along an autumn theme and will include entries from children at the town’s primary schools to a scarecrow competition which will line the way to St Joseph’s Church Hall.

Throughout the day, there will be musical performances by Gael Force, Carlen Jig, the Bogie Close Stompers and Riddell Fiddles, plus buskers and open mic sessions on both stages.

The day will come to a close at 4.30pm, but the Selkirk Sessions, which start tonight, will continue until Sunday, at venues across the town. That will include a grand busking event complete with prizes.

Guests are also invited to gather on Sunday at 2pm at the gates of Philiphaugh Community Centre for a walk along the newly completed Black Bob stell and cairn.

That will be led by shepherdess Viv Billingham and her border collie Quest.

This is the first stage of one of the Selkirk flood protection scheme’s art projects, the Spirit of Black Bob Trail, devised by the Black Bob Heritage Group.

Once the stell has been reached, a new tune titled Black Bob will be performed by the Bannerfield Buskers.

This will be the 17th year of the celebrations, which began as a winter festival held during the run up to Christmas.

However, its date was moved to the first weekend in October in 2015 after a lack of volunteers put it under threat.