Spirit of Black Bob trail opens

Sir Michael Strang and Bob Mitchell, chairman of the Black Bob Heritage group, at the opening.
Sir Michael Strang and Bob Mitchell, chairman of the Black Bob Heritage group, at the opening.

The first stage of a community art project inspired by the fictional character Black Bob, a dog featured in the Dandy comic from 1944 until 1982, has been shown to the public for the first time.

A musical reception led by Riddell Fiddles welcomed the unveiling of a stell and cairn, the first phase of the Spirit of Black Bob Trail, as part of the Selkirk flood protection scheme community art initiative. The trail aims to evoke the world of shepherding, representing the days of when the fictional border collie lived near there, through a series of objects along the site at the Long Philip Burn corridor.

It was designed by the Black Bob Heritage Group, with the stone coming from the Philiphaugh Estate, and was put together by Gordon and Dave Amos.

Viv Ross, of the group, said: “The stell will provide a great setting for performances, storytelling, outdoor lessons or just simply sitting quietly enjoying the peace and shelter.

“The cairn is on a mound just beyond the stell, and at present just can be seen over the top of the newly-planted trees.

“In the next few years, as the trees grow, it will disappear, and may only be found by following various pathways through the new woodland.”

It was opened by Michael Strang-Steel, owner of the Philiphaugh Estate, before a community singalong with the Bannerfield Buskers.

That included a performance of the first-ever rendition of a new song called Black Bob, composed by David Knox and with lyrics written by Sheila Sapkota.