Milestone marked as Selkirk celebrates Shirra

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This weekend, the royal and ancient burgh is transported back in time to the days of the Shirra as well as revelling in folk music nostalgia as Scott’s Selkirk and the Selkirk Sessions take place.

The town is pulling out all the stops in their annual celebration of the days of Sir Walter Scott as this is the 20th event.

Maistress Viv Ross told us: “The first Scott’s Selkirk was in 2000, and I’m so chuffed we have made it to the 20th event.

“There were some years in the middle where its popularity dipped, but we were deluged with requests to keep it going.

“It was certainly rejuvenated when we combined with the Selkirk Sessions, moving to the October every year.”

Val said that they are also working towards another milestone in 2021, which would be Sir Walter’s 250th birthday.

However, she said beyond that, there may be a move to make the event more manageable.

She said: “It’s the same old story, we have a fairly elderly committee and it is proving difficult to get youngsters interested in taking on the organising side.

“Moving forward, we will keep it going, but it may evolve into more manageable, smaller events.”

The one-day spectacular will see Souters dressing up for the occasion, with local actor John Nichol once again taking on the role of Sir Walter, not only in the now legendary court cases in the Shirra’s own courtroom – The Tall Tale of the Tushielaw Trout, and the Lady Varnishes (newly written for this year), but also as he wanders the streets throughout the day.

If you want to turn back the years yourself, costumes can be hired from the Scott’s Selkirk shop in the Market Place, where information on the weekend’s activities can also be gleaned.

There will be plenty attractions to keep everyone happy, withCrafty Beggars’ music and puppet show, a visit from Les Amis D’Onno (expect a performance or to from Billy Bowler the amazing performing goat) as well as a plethora of traditional children’s games to try out, such as splat the rat and a coconut shy.

The event coincides with the town’s monthly farmers’ market as well, which takes place in the Market Place.

For visitors seeking olde worlde refreshments – and more modern ones too! –, Meg Dodds Kitchen is in the High Street.

The Town Crier is an important part of the day, and organisers are pleased that Matthew Burgess has taken on the role from his father Bob, who played an important part in both events before he passed away in 2016.

This year, Matthew will be accompanied by two young drummer boys.

Selkirk Parish Church is again proudly showing its wonderful floral displays, and is also open for coffees all weekend. This year the theme is “1918 – a Floral Tribute”.

The two events merge merrily with each other, as musicians come from all over the place to join in the fun over the three days of Selkirk Sessions.

Performing over the two stages in the High Street and Market Placewillbe local performers Gael Force, Carlenjig, The Bogie’s Close Stompers Highline Fiddlers, Bob Liddle and Riddell Fiddles. 

There will also be open mic sessions available in various establishments from Friday to Sunday.

There will also be a host of talented buskers to add to the entertainment. 

This year, the Saturday afternoon rounds off with a grand finale on the High Street stage – not to be missed. 

Before the culmination of the Sessions on Sunday, there’s a walk organised through the Spirit of Black Bob’s Trail one of the town’s flood protection artworks, led by the Bannerfield Buskers.

Organisers say there has been a lot of progress made in the trail in the past year, and the project is now almost completed, so there will be something new even for the visitors who enjoyed the walk last year.