Great welcome to walkers from Scotland’s First True Border Toun

Thursday, the only wet day of the week as walkers tackle the Lees and Hirsel Estate walk.

Thursday, the only wet day of the week as walkers tackle the Lees and Hirsel Estate walk.

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Walkers from far and wide descended on Coldstream last week for the annual Scottish Borders Walking Festival.

It is the oldest walking festival in Scotland and Coldstream hosted the event for the first time, laying on 31 guided walks and a programme of evening events for the 200+ people who took part.

Coldstream Circular walk passing Jacobs Well

Coldstream Circular walk passing Jacobs Well

From Monday to Saturday there was a choice of between three and five different walks every day - from a gentle stroll to the more challenging hillwalks and the response from those taking part has convinced orgnisers, Coldstream Community Trust, that they should repeat the exercise in the future.

“The festival has placed Coldstream on the walking map, been great for our local economy and helped run the community centre,” said organiser Gerald Tait.

“We are currently preparing a robust handover to Peebles (2017), like we received from Galashiels (2015). Coldstream hopes to organise the festival in future years.”

Gerald went on to thank the many people and organisations who helped make the festival such a great success: the small team of volunteers who planned and organised the event Helen Rabour, Margery Smith, Animal Parsons, Kate Mole, John Smith, Kay Slater and Elspeth Bell; SEStran, SBC Ranger service and Border Search and Rescue Service for their support; walk leaders and back-markers; businesses; entertainers; caterers; land-owners; first-aid trainers; and walkers based in the Borders.

A Flodden battlefield tour then back to Coldstream via Pallinsburn

A Flodden battlefield tour then back to Coldstream via Pallinsburn

“The response from our 200 walkers has been excellent and we are very pleased that the event has helped them, helped our local economy, continued the very enjoyable annual walking festival event and perhaps placed Coldstream further on the walking map,” added Gerald.

“We are very happy to pass the responsibility for the event to Peebles (2017) knowing that we have done our best.”

The theme for the week was the town’s position as being ‘the First True Border Toun’ and a cross-border hub for England and Scotland and this year was the first time the walks strayed across the border into Northumberland.

The timing of the event meant that walkers on the Friday - September 9 - could focus on the anniversary of the Battle of Flodden and gave the walks an added dimension of history as well as the breathtaking border scenery.

Cakes and refreshments for the returning walkers

Cakes and refreshments for the returning walkers

Places visited during the planned walks included: Wooler, Norham, Etal, Kirk Yetholm, Eyemouth, Coldingham, Duns, Edin Hall Broch, Hume Castle, Flodden, plus over a six day period walkers completed the entire St Cuthbert’s Way from Melrose to Holy Island.