Reivers ride again

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The Reivers of Hawick are getting ready to ride again in the annual festival celebrating their ancestors’ colourful and bloody history.

The organisers have lined up a host of treats for this year’s festivities, and there’s sure to be something for everyone.

The scene is set by folk rockers Scocha on Friday, March 27, at the Hawick Old Baths at 8pm (doors open 7.15pm).

On Saturday, Andrew Scott of Harden will give the Hawick Archaological Society’s guest lecture. Andrew is a direct descendent of the famous Wat O’ Harden, a notorious reiver, whose beautiful wife was the The Flower of Yarrow, and he is the 11th holder of the title Lord Polworth.

He is an expert on the history of his family and his title, Scotts o’ Harden – Auld Wine In New Bottles, is certainly an intriguing one. The ideal setting for the talk is Hawick’s own family history centre – the Heritage Hub – and the lecture will begin at 1.30pm (donations on door).

Not to be outdone, the Armstrongs are also ably represented by a well-known clan member and broadcaster – Fiona Armstrong. She will reflect on just how troublesome her ancestors were in her talk, entitled, The Armstrongs Can Start A Fight In A Phone Box.

They had the reputation of being the most feared of the Border families, and she will reflect on their role in the England/Scotland divide and review their relationship with other border families like the Elliots, Grahams and Bells. Hawick Rotary Club are hosting this event as the Literary High Tea in Hawick Rugby Club at 4.30pm on Sunday. Tickets priced £14 must be purchased in advance.

Following on from the success of the Reivers Banquet in 2014, the Lady of the House (Christine Lyon) will be inviting her guests to assemble once more at 8.15pm on Saturday evening in the Old Baths, where a fine feast will be served up. She will be joined by the Laird (Billy Young) and her family (Joyce Tinlin, Robert Scott and Iona Cuthbert) plus a number of special guests to entertain the company. An excellent evening is in store and is suitable for the whole family. Tickets priced at £14 (or £6 for primary school children) are available from ILF Imaging.

Rounding off this year’s weekend there is the opportunity to meet some Hawick ancestors in person when the Ghosts of Drumlanrig Tower and St Mary’s Kirkyard take centre stage on Sunday evening. This new event will have a few surprises and is not for the faint hearted.

Tours start at 7pm (family tickets available ) and 8pm (all £4 per head). Places are limited to 20, so early booking is advised.

The Reivers Festival committee is indebted to Hawick Common Good Fund for assistance with funding again this year (£2,000). However, the total cost of staging the event is in the region of £15,000. Many aspects of the weekend, including the spectacular fireworks display, are free of charge and the main source of income is from the ticketed events, prize draw and donations.

Organisers say it is difficult to continue to secure funding and they would like to highlight that the festival can only continue if people support it.

Prize draw tickets will be on sale in Sainsbury’s (March 20–22) and there will be a bucket collection over the festival itself, so if you want to see the festival continue please give generously.