A FIELD near Selkirk rang to the sound of cannon fire, musket volleys and the clash of sword steel at the weekend, as battle re-enactment enthusiasts restaged the 17th-century Battle of Philiphaugh.
The bloody clash between Covenanters and Royalists was famously fought on September 13, 1645, just outside Selkirk. On Thursday, more than 30 Bavarian re-enactors from The Wallenstein Group arrived in Selkirk to take part in the weekend’s events.
Selkirk’s Plattling Twinning Group helped to host the visitors, who were piped into the town and welcomed with haggis pies and local beverages at a civic reception in the town hall.
The two days of battle re-enactment both kicked off with the sound of cannon fire on the field in front of Philiphaugh Estate’s Waterwheel Cafe, followed by displays of fighting with muskets, swords, cannon and pikes, with more than 200 ‘troops’ in period dress taking part.
A living history camp was also in operation on both days, including displays on the work of the barber surgeon and the gruesome instruments that were used in the 17th century to cut hair and limbs.
At the camp kitchen, spectators were able to view spit roast cooking, butter making and gruel of the sort that formed part of the staple fare of 17th-century soldiers.
Philiphaugh Estate’s owner, Sir Michael Strang Steel, was delighted with the way the entire three-day event had gone and says a repeat will certainly be considered.
“I thought the whole thing was very impressive,” he told TheSouthern this week. “The actual battle re-enactment was very exciting and realistic, with cannons being fired and volley after volley of musket fire.
“Even the infamous massacre of the Irish who had been involved was recreated, and very realistically. There was quite a large number of spectators and I think many of those attending, both young and old, will also have found it a highly educational experience.
“The whole thing was ably commentated by Alasdair Hutton, who has great experience in that sort of thing and everybody seemed to really enjoy themselves.
“I know the Wallenstein Group, who were tremendous, had a great time. They had always wanted to come and ‘do’ this particular battle and told us they had received a very warm welcome in Selkirk.”
Sir Michael says there is a definite possibility a similar event may be staged at some point in the future.
“Definitely – we learned a lot on how to stage something like this and think we could improve on it.
“Perhaps in 2015, which would be quite a special date.”