Words and music tell Borders tales in aid of BTN’s good work

Sir Chay Blyth at the Ogilvie Stone. His recital of 'The Road to Roberton' is on the Sounds of the Borders cd.
Sir Chay Blyth at the Ogilvie Stone. His recital of 'The Road to Roberton' is on the Sounds of the Borders cd.

The beauty and tales of the Borders have long been extolled in words and music.

And now a local charity is bringing many of them together in order to raise funds and awareness of its work.

Borders Talking Newspaper (BTN) has been recording the sounds of the local news in audio form for the visually impaired for 20 years and, to celebrate its anniversary, as well as producing its 1000th edition earlier this year, the organisation has produced a cd entitled, Sounds of the Borders, bringing together writers, personalities and musicians associated with the area over the last 200 years.

Many recordings have been produced specially for the cd, while other tracks have been reproduced with the permission of the artistes.

Vice-Convenor Joy Chatters told us: “We hope to not only help raise funds and awareness for Borders Talking Newspaper, but also to do our bit for the region.

“We have had great support from everyone who has contributed and from our major sponsors, Borders Fine Arts, Johnstons of Elgin, South East Heating of Selkirk, and the Rotary Clubs of Galashiels and Kelso, and others who placed advanced orders, ensuring that the cost of production has been covered and the revenue from all future sales will go directly to BTN funds.

“The front and back cover pictures were donated by David Kilpatrick Photography, Kelso, while the inside picture was provided by amateur photographer and farmer Jim Wilson of Duns. The artwork was finalised by Kelso Graphics, thus saving us further costs.

“The cd will make an ideal present not only for Christmas and other anniversaries, but for tourists to take home and for exiles who will be here for the common ridings,” Joy added.

Borders group Scocha and author Alistair Moffat set the scene on the opening two tracks with Our Borderland, and a reading from the introduction of Heartland respectively, while round-the-world yachtsman Sir Chay Blyth remembers his childhood playing up near the Ale Water in a reading of W.H. Ogilvie’s The Hill Road to Roberton.

Two of the best known sounds of the Borders — the Voice of Rugby, Bill McLaren and the Voice of the Tattoo, Alasdair Hutton, a BTN Patrons – are featured and there are songs and readings from Hawick folk Henry Douglas, Joyce Tinlin and Ian Landles.

Edinburgh-based folk singer Shona McMillan made a special recording of The Eyemouth Disaster, and Birgham’s Lori Watson sings her arrangement of Ettrick Shepherd James Hogg’s Maggie, a song which has brought her great popularity at home and on foreign tours. Other Border songs include Yarrow’s Green Braes, written by Selkirk’s John Nichol and sung by Yarrow’s Hilary Bell, The Rolling Hills of the Borders, by members of the Rolling Hills Folk Club, from Melrose, and a live track from Kelso Folk Club’s Friday night session at The Cobbles, Kelso.

The late John Wright, who sadly died as he was making a real name for himself, not only in Scotland and the North of England, but much further afield, features on two tracks, Lock the Door Lariston and Peace on the Border, which also includes the ever popular Maddy Prior.

While Hogg is honoured on three tracks, the Borders most famous writer, Sir Walter Scott, is certainly not forgotten. An extract from The Lay of the Minstrel is read by Prof David Purdie, chairman of the Sir Walter Scott Club of Edinburgh.

BTN listeners have already been able to hear extracts from the cd on which Lady Judy Steel, well-known Borders actor Matthew Burgess and BTN Patron Matilda Mitchell and reader Eileen Woodward are also reading.

The cd, mastered locally by Big Sky Studios, will be available initially from Border Fine Arts Gallery, Langholm; Pearsons Garden Centre, Duns; Milestone Garden Centre, St Boswells; Burts Hotel, Melrose and Scotts Selkirk. See www.btn.org.uk and/or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/borders talkingnewspaper for further updates on where to buy copies.

z The Southern Reporter has three copies of Borders Talking Newspaper’s Sounds of the Borders to be won by readers.

Simply answer the following questions:

Which road that leads to Ale Water did W.H. Ogilvie write about?

Send your answer, including your name, full address and contact telephone number to BTN competition, The Hermitage, Selkirk, TD7 4DA, to arrive no later than Wednesday, June 20.

Normal competition rules apply visit www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk for details.