The stuff of legend in 12 days

Heritage Week. Smailholm Tower.
Heritage Week. Smailholm Tower.

The myths and legends of the Borderlands are the theme behind this year’s Borders Heritage Week.

The 12 days of events in venues across the region, from September 12-23, will explore the tales of Merlin, St Mungo and Tibbie Tamsin, as well as local storytellers Sir Walter Scott, James Hogg and Will o’ Phaup – the last man to converse with the fairies.

“The myths and legends of the Borders are among the most enduring and influential in the world,” entices the organiser and council archeologist Dr Chris Bowles.

“Borders Heritage Week 2012 celebrates this rich and wonderful corpus with a series of events that allow you to scratch the surface.”

The festival begins with a guided walk up the Corbie Lynn near Selkirk on Wednesday, September 12, to the grave of the executed ‘witch’ Tibby Tamsin, followed on Saturday, September 15, with a day of creative writing called The Making of Myths, led by the countryside ranger and Southern columnist Erica Hume Niven.

In the Tweed Valley at Traquair on Sunday, September 16, there are tales told and stories shared about Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Bear Gates and St Mungo, patron saint and founder of the city of Glasgow.

If trees can be likened to people, then Heritage Trees are the characters, such as the larch trees planted at Dawyck and Kailzie gardens in 1725, and you can discover some of these amazing trees in the beautiful setting of Kailzie Garden with Borders Forest Trust and Treefest Scotland on Tuesday, September 18.

Nearby, on a 10-mile walk amidst the flora and fauna of the Drumelzier valley on Wednesday, September 19, there’s a chance to discover how King Arthur’s legendary wizard Merlin may be connected to the area.

The same day visitors can wander around the grounds of Coldingham Priory, one of the earliest Border monasteries, or learn about St Cuthbert at the opening of the new Old Melrose Interpretation Centre.

On a tour of the Yarrow Valley, St Mary’s Loch and Moffat the following Thursday, there are stories of the Covenanters and the Border Reivers to be told in the beauty of the Highlands in miniature.

The festival ends with tours of Sir Walter Scott’s life, Trimontium, the Berwickshire coast, the Ettrick Valley and the Samye Ling Tibetan Centre.

For more programme and ticket information, search for and download the Borders Heritage Week leaflet on the Scottish Borders Council website www.scotborders.gov.uk, or call 01835 826622.