Philosophy festival toasts Borderer Hume with pint of Enlightenment

David Knowles dresses as philosopher David Hume to launch the new 'Enlightenment' beer
David Knowles dresses as philosopher David Hume to launch the new 'Enlightenment' beer

PUBS in and around Chirnside are inviting Borderers to “drink and think” with a pint of Enlightenment.

The new beer, brewed by Hadrian & Border, was launched recently to mark the tercentenary celebrations of Berwickshire philosopher David Hume (1711-1776).

And on Saturday villagers and visitors will get a chance to sample the 4.0 per cent light amber ale flavoured with celeia and cascade hops at Chirnside’s Red Lion and Waterloo Arms, as well as in the nearby Allanton Inn and The Craw in Auchencrow, during Chirnside’s Philosophy Festival and Paxton House’s Enlightenment evening.

The two free events, organised by Chirnside Common Good Association to honour Britain’s greatest philosopher, who grew up at Ninewells Farm, aim to make the subjects of Hume, philosophy and Scotland’s Enlightenment accessible to all ages of villagers and visitors.

The Red Lion and Waterloo Arms will also be serving Georgian lunches and suppers during the day, including roast pork in claret sauce, beef pie with suet crust, regency chicken fricassee and sticky toffee sundae.

‘Enlightened’ drinkers can also take home Hume’s words of wisdom on free beermats with his philosophy quotes, such as: “When men are the most sure and arrogant, they are commonly the most mistaken.”

People can ponder these thoughts and also walk off their dinner on the new David Hume Walk from Ninewells to Auchencrow, one of five new Border Brains Walks exploring the lives and ideas of Berwickshire’s great minds, such as James Hutton, Duns Scotus, James Small and Alexander Dow, as well as the landscape that gave them birth.

Funding from Awards For All and Scottish Borders Council has also made possible a new plaque and information panel permanently marking Chirnside’s connection to the philosopher, which will be unveiled by SBC’s chief executive – David Hume.

The Enlightenment beer and beermats are down to the hard work of Chirnside resident Carol Jefferson Davies, who is also sponsoring the new David Hume Essay Prize for Border high schools, due to be awarded on Saturday by France’s Consul General. A tough competition is expected.

Children are natural philosophers they say, so 30 pupils at Chirnside Primary School will also be performing a philosophy play on Saturday morning called Unanswerable Questions, co-written by them and their drama teacher Eloner Crawford.

Meanwhile, the philosopher David Hume’s story is being told at an exhibition in Chirnside Community Centre, entitled The Life and Times of David Hume 1711-1776, which opened on the great man’s birthday on Tuesday and runs until Saturday’s Philosophy Festival, when Roderick Graham, author of Hume’s biography The Great Infidel, will reveal the man and his life.

“I wish I’d met him,” said Linda Gray, manager of Chirnside Co-op, who with fellow villager Annette Scobie, has curated the exhibition: “He just seemed like such a good man. It makes you proud that Chirnside produced this great mind.”

To explain Hume’s thinking, philosophers Dr Alasdair Richmond of Edinburgh University and Dr Peter Millican of Oxford University will be in the wood-panelled salon of Chirnside’s Red Lion pub, where the subject is sure to be anything but dry.

A free programme, including a venue map and a list of the local places to eat and walk, can be picked up during the day at the exhibition in Chirnside Community Centre. But in the interim, the programme of free festival events along with details of Paxton House’s Enlightenment Evening can be downloaded from