Rain fails to quench walkers’ thirst for church history

A seven-mile 'Steeplchase Walk' was organised by churches in the linked charge of Maxton and Mertoun, with Newtown with St Boswells, to celebrate the history of their places of worship. The walkers are pictured at Maxton kirk
A seven-mile 'Steeplchase Walk' was organised by churches in the linked charge of Maxton and Mertoun, with Newtown with St Boswells, to celebrate the history of their places of worship. The walkers are pictured at Maxton kirk

Inspired by the definition of ‘steeplechase’, which originated in the 18th century when horses and riders raced from one town’s steeple to the next, a seven-mile walk was organised by churches in the linked charge of Maxton and Mertoun, with Newtown with St Boswells, to celebrate the history of their places of worship.

Fortified by bacon rolls at Newtown church, 35 walkers braved the first rain for weeks to walk the River Tweed path to St Boswells for lunch, to shelter from a hail shower and visit to the parish church to learn something of its history.

The sun enhanced the remainder of the walk, firstly alongside St Boswells golf course and the riverside, then under Mertoun Bridge. The route continued up Jacob’s Ladder to the site of the old St Boswells parish church at Benrig and a suitable sing-song.

Then on to Maxton Kirk (where the walkers are pictured above) for tea and cake, and an interesting talk about some of the 1,000-year-old church’s past.

Back to the riverside again and over the suspension bridge into Mertoun estate, the walk finished at Mertoun irk, the younger ‘sister’ of its Maxton counterpart by 25 years.

Although not primarily intended to generate funds, the generosity of all involved raised £656 which will be donated to the charge’s current fund-raising venture – The Vine Trust’s ‘Build a House in Tanzania’ project.



Parish church

In the absence of the minister, Elspeth Harley, who was attending the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh, the morning service on Sunday was conducted by session clerk Anne Grieve, who was assisted by her dog, Puzzle. The Bible reading was delivered by Christine Dorward. Christian Aid Week was marked by collections in the village and district. Donations can still be given to the annual appeal and monies will go towards the heating project. Elders should note that the kirk session meeting due to be held today (Thursday) has been postponed.


Wednesday club

Secretary Sheila McKay told the latest meeting: “Today we are celebrating the 80th birthday of Kay Brownlie, who has been a member for 50 years and has worked very hard for the club, and is still very involved with all her work for us. A huge thank-you, Kay.” After tea and birthday cake, the Rev Marion Dodd spoke about her journey to becoming a minister. Competition – a cream jug – 1, Mrs C. Seaton; 2, Mrs A. Falconer; 3, Ms K. Brownlie. The club trip is next week, with the next meeting on June 14. Competition – a comical figure.

Thursday lunch club

At last week’s gathering, treasurer Jean Walker and her husband, Jimmie, who is club driver, both celebrated their birthdays, members singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to them. A game of card bingo followed. After lunch, birthday cake and tea was enjoyed and Marian Anderson entertained on the accordion.

Parish church

The spring concert by Langlee Community Choir raised £365 for Christian Aid. The service on Sunday, May 28, at 10.15am will be conducted by the Rev Julie Rennick. The summer edition of the church magazine will be going to print soon.

Women’s group

For those who have their names down for the outing to Bowhill on Saturday, a reminder that the tour leaves The Square at 12.45pm.


At Thursday’s AGM office bearers and committee members were elected following the count by Eve Miller and Mrs Libby Green. President Heather Smith welcomed Mr Caldwell, from Caldwell’s Ice Cream, Innerleithen, who gave a talk on his family business and provided members with a generous and delicious tasting session. Competition – tablet – 1, Barbara Greer; single flower – 1, Julie Renwick; 2, Barbara Greer. Prize winners for most competition points over the year – 1, Barbara Greer; 2, Julie Renwick. The June outing is to Thirlestane Castle on Thursday, June 15, and meetings will resume after the summer break on Thursday, September 21.



At the visitors’ evening, Linda Lovatt, from the Lovatt Gallery in Jedburgh, gave a talk and demonstration, with a picture show, about her life and how she creates her jewellery, ornaments and collage pictures. Currently, some of her pieces can be seen in an exhibition in Halliwell’s museum, Selkirk. Competitions – spring flower arrangements – 1, Carol Wilson Green; 2, Margaret Jeary; bring a cartoon – 1, Margaret Jeary; 2, Carol Wilson Green; 3, Joyce Eaves. The visitors’ competition, also spring flowers, was won by Joan Littler of Heiton SWI.


St Peter’s Church

Thursday, May 25 – 10am, communion service; Sunday, May 28 – 9.30am, Sunday Squad, followed by juice and toast; 10.30am, songs of praise service; Monday, May 29 – St Peter’s Food Bank Week; 7pm, bottletop sort; Tuesday, May 30 – 7.30pm, vestry meeting; Saturday, June 24 – 10.30am-3pm, Growing Together Roadshow with Bishop John, St Peter’s Church (bring and share lunch).


Langshaw SWI

At the rural’s May meeting, Fiona Cameron introduced Rachel Wigmore who gave a hands-on demonstration in bead jewellery making. Each member received a pack from Rachel to make their own bracelet. During tea Fiona went through some business items and Clare Milne proposed a vote of thanks to Rachel. Results of competition – a bead necklace – 1, Lindsay Holmes; 2, Victoria Watt; 3, Marjory Bald; a layered cold pudding, Sheena Bedford.



The SWI outing is on Wednesday, May 31, members meeting in The Glebe at 12.15pm and car sharing to visit Johnsons of Elgin in Hawick. There, they will be having lunch and a tour of the factory.


Football competition

Gordon Civic Week open seven-a-side football competition will be held on Saturday, June 10, at the village football pitch. Entry is £10 per team and registration is at 9.30am on the day.



President Jim Walker was in the chair at last week’s meeting. There was no speaker, so the club attended to any business at hand and finalised arrangements for the coffee morning this Saturday in Trinity Parish Church Hall. The club has decided to donate the profits from this event to the East African Famine Appeal. The club has acquired its own laptop and projector for use by visiting speakers. Ron Sutherland gave a demonstration of the uses it can be put to with a slide show projecting all that Rotary stands for and what it represents, and it will be used at the coffee morning for this purpose.

Bridge club

Tuesday, May 23 – 1, Michael Tuson & Bob Witherington; 2, Bob Francombe & Averil Bannatyne; 3, Morag & Fraser Beaton.



The service in Innerleithen Church on Sunday, May 28, will be at 11.30am.



The annual coffee morning held in the British Legion Club realised £740 for ‘End Polio Now’. The raffle ticket sales at the Co-op raised £410 and £191 was the result from the club quiz. Two new members – Thomas Gollander-Jensen and Mark Hatcher – were presented with their Rotary pins and name badges by club president Tony Rae. The AGM took place in the Carter’s Rest last Thursday, during which committee chairs and the treasurer presented their reports. Representatives to attend district meetings were also appointed. The junior fishing event at the Hass Loch went ahead last Saturday, despite heavy rain. Some members of the club assisted at the Borders Union Show Schools Day at Springwood Park, Kelso, on Tuesday. The work involved ensuring children’s safety and helping with the various groups from schools throughout the region. The end of June will see the transition to a new Rotary year when incoming president Ian Sanford takes over from Tony Rae, who has served two years in the role. The club is also looking forward to a social day for members and partners at Nisbet on Thursday, June 15. This event will be organised by Rotarian Ian Davis and promises to be an enjoyable day, with a chance to learn how to fish and visit renowned Borders artist Claire Bownlow who lives at Ormiston House.

Pop-up shop

Saturday, May 27, sees the Cheviot Youth Jethart Youth Hub Pop-Up Shop at 5-7 High Street open from 9.30am-1.30pm, with DVDs, books, CDs, jewellery and beauty products up for grabs. For further information or to drop off donations, ring/text Ian on 07958 277766.


Plant sale

There will be a plant sale on the Bowmont Street side of Kelso North Church on Saturday, May 27, from 9am-noon – proceeds in aid of church funds.


Abbey Quilters will be meeting on Tuesday, June 13, at 7pm in Abbey Row Centre. It will be a short AGM, followed by a surprise. For further information, contact Rineke Sangster (01573 229414).



The Rev. Rae Clark will conduct a service at Channelkirk on Sunday, May 28, at 10am. On the same day, The Lord’s Supper will be celebrated in Lauder Church at 11.30am and at South Garden, Lauder, at 2.30pm. The stated annual meeting will be held in the Church Centre, Lauder, on Wednesday, June 28, at 7pm.


Parish church

At General Assembly time, there was a call for this Sunday to be marked as a Global Day of Prayer to end famine, since 20million people are so affected, particularly in Africa. May 28 – communion at Bowden (9.30am) and Melrose (11am); Bolivia exhibition in Melrose Gallery and the church.



The last formal meeting of the season included visitors from other rurals. President Enid Cruickshank welcomed those from Appletreehall, Bedrule, Burnfoot, Glendouglas and Newmill and Teviothead. Sheila Clyne, from Burnfoot school, gave a demonstration of easy supper dishes. Then her audience were allowed to taste the dishes which varied from curries, salads and dips using chicken, mackerel, salmon and beetroot, as well as various cheeses. Competition – unbaked traybake – visitors – 1, Isabel Halliday; Minto members – 1, Sheena Nelson; 2, Mary Beck; 3, Enid Cruickshank; 4, Rosemary Matheson. Minto SWI had a stall at Denholm fair, raising over £130 from tombola and other items. The next gathering is the visit to Abbotsford. The next formal meeting in Denholm village hall will be on Wednesday, September 13, when there will be a demonstration of wool felting.


Plant sale

Morebattle in Bloom held a plant sale last Saturday when a good crowd bought plants for their gardens and tubs ready for summer.

Coffee morning

The fishing club coffee morning will be held in the institute on Saturday, May 27, from 10.30am.

Community council

Kalewater Community Council AGM – Barbara Bell took over from Eric McNulty as chairperson, Roddy Murray replaced Dot Halliday as vice- chairman and new councillor Tamzin Thomas joined the team. There are currently two vacancies – anyone interested should get in touch.



Appletreehall, Cogsmill, Minto, Roberton, Wilton Dean, Ewes and Newcastleton were represented at an open night. Anne Reid, federation treasurer, also attended. Isabel Gordon gave a talk entitled ‘The history of tea – plants that changed the world, or dying for a cuppa’. Her presentation included such facts as there are 165 million cups of tea drunk every minute of every day. Trish Kilpatrick gave the vote of thanks on behalf of the rural and guests. Results of the various members’ competitions were as follows: Favourite teapot – 1, Muriel Baptie; 2, Mary Irving; Favourite tea cosy – 1, Jan Little; 2, Muriel Baptie. The visitors’ competition for a favourite teaspoon resulted as follows: 1, Catherine Edmonston; 2, Katrina Eagleston; 3, Sheila Marshall. Anne Reid thanked the hostesses – Maureen McMannus, Sheila Purdie, Sheila Robson, Julia Templeman and Carol Valentine – for providing supper. The sales table proceeds went to Borders General Hospital and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary premature baby units, raising £90. The rural summer outing is to Balcary House for high tea on Tuesday, June 13, at 6pm. Anyone interested in going should contact Gill Francombe.


Library cafe

The next library cafe will be held in the hall on Wednesday, May 31, 11am-noon. Proceeds are being donated to Christian Aid.


Plant sale

Gardeners looking for inspiration and plants to brighten up their borders will be heading to the plant sale at Dawyck Botanic Garden on Sunday, May 28 (10am-3pm), organised by Friends of Dawyck. There will be stalls filled with many gardeners’ favourites and some more unusual specimens.



The annual whist drive was held on Friday evening. Results were – 1st lady, Janice Palmer; 2nd lady, Greta Middlemass; 3rd lady, Hope Ballantyne; booby, Joan Kyle; highest first half, Janet Alexander; highest 2nd half, Christine Ballantyne; 1st gent, Sheena Nelson; 2nd gent, Lynn Nichol; 3rd gent, Dorothy Corrie; booby, Angus Cameron; highest first half, Gil Telfer; highest 2nd half, Lynda Mays; card bingo winner, Dorothy Corrie. At the May meeting, members enjoyed a talk by Johnny Johnson from Eyemouth – his life story from leaving school at 14 to his varied life at sea and his continuing interests to this day, particularly the establishment of The Man Shed. Competitions – sea shell – 1, Ann Hinton; 2, Ros Anderson; 3, Jean Grieve; small dish of fish pate – 1, Bryony Hawthorne; 2, Ros Anderson; 3, Rose Cameron. The next meeting is the annual outing to The Woll restaurant on Tuesday, June 13 – anyone who has not put their name down and is wishing to go, contact Rose Cameron.


Craft fair

A craft fair will be held and cream teas served in Teviothead Hall on Sunday, May 28, 10am-4pm. Crafts include cashmere, felted artworks, paintings and vintage French linen interior accessories.


See Newmill section.



The service in Traquair Kirk on Sunday, May 28, starts at 10am.



The next service in Walkerburn Public Hall will be at 10am on Sunday, June 18.



Yetholm Guild’s annual coffee morning will take place on Saturday, May 27, at 10.30am in Wauchope Hall.


A Disney Extravaganza, with children from Yetholm and Morebattle, in association with Yetholm Ex-principals, is on Saturday, May 27, at 7pm in Wauchope Hall. Tickets from the village shop.

Sponsored walk

Cheviot Churches are holding a sponsored walk on Saturday, June 10, starting at 10am from Caverton Mill Farm. Sponsorship forms are avavilable in churches and village shops. Contact Carol Butler or Simon Oldham for further information.

Community council

Yetholm Community Council meets at 7pm on Tuesday, May 30, in the Youth Hall.

Plant sale

Floral Gateway will hold its annual plant sale on Saturday, June 3, at 10am on the green in Town Yetholm.