Riddellers clean up on way to Canada

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Riddell Fiddles showed a clean pair of heels yesterday morning as they jetted off for an 18-day tour of Canada.

A total of 18 members of the Argus Centre folk group were presented with new polo shirts by Buccleuch Cleaners as they prepared to leave for Nova Scotia.

And among the highlights of the near-three week stay will be a 12 hour fiddle-a-thon with 400 other fiddlers from across the vast North American country.

The tour will focus on the Nova Scotian island of Cape Breton, with the Souters having previously travelled there in 2006.

That was followed by a return visit to Selkirk from the Cape Breton contingent in 2008.

Sheila Sapkota of the Riddell Fiddles told the Wee Paper: “Whilst there, we will study Cape Breton fiddling and Stepdance at the Gaelic College in St Ann’s as well undertaking a series of concerts at the Scottish Day on Iona and run a ceilidh at the Celtic Tea Rooms in Baddeck.

“Keeping the Scottish theme going, we will also stop at the Alexander Graham Bell Museum and in between it we hoped to fit in a whale watching trip - without fiddles - and a sailing trip, with the fiddles.”

The trip will conclude when the Selkirk musicians take part in the Cape Breton Fiddlers Association’s 75th anniversary, which will see them perform from 2pm to 2am alongside hundreds of others, before leaving for Scotland from Halifax on August 17.

The group’s repertoire for their numerous performances will include tunes by Borders tunesmiths past and present, including Bob Hobkirk, Ian Lowthian, Donald Knox, Lori Watson and the late Tom Hughes.

Sheila, who took a group to the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention in Ireland last year, added: “We have to thank Allan Hogg of Buccleuch Cleaners for the new shirts, made at very short notice by Max Yarns.

“The group would also like to thank Sainsbury’s in Kelso, and Morrison’s in Hawick as well as Kelso Farmer’s market for their support as well as all the individuals who have attended our various events over the past year.

“The pop-up shop initiative helped us, as have Melrose Community Council and Scottish Borders Council.”

Riddell Fiddles will be back on stage at the Flodden 500 concert on September 7 and St James’ Fair the next day.

And the new term starts again on September 15 with a 10-year anniversary party lunch at the Argus Centre.