News

From alpacas with love

 

It’s unlikely there has ever been a wedding quite like this one …. Cringletie House Hotel claimed a Scottish first recently when a couple had their wedding rings delivered by a pair of alpacas. It’s all part of a quirky new service on offer that sees the happy couple's rings stowed in a velvet bag and carried up the red carpet around the neck of a beautiful alpaca dressed in its best bib and tucker.

The delightful animals, supplied by nearby Velvet Hall Alpacas, have a wonderfully mild temperament which makes them ideal for socialising with the lucky bride and groom. Not only do they add a memorable twist to the ceremony, but the alpacas also then play a part for photos with guests who may also take them for a walk.

“Weddings are always meant to be memorable and providing something extraordinary like this is another way of demonstrating that we care about ensuring the big day is just that," commented Cringletie's manager Jeremy Osborne. “The alpacas are adorable and are proving a huge hit with all age groups. Plus, with our superb grounds, the animals get to enjoy themselves as much as the wedding party!”

For more information, visit www.cringletie.com

 

Scott the rave reviewer

 

The Abbotsford Trust has announced the opening of a special new exhibition at Abbotsford this spring in partnership with the National Library of Scotland. The exhibition – Rave Reviewer: Scott on Frankenstein, Emma and Childe Harold – tells the story of Walter Scott's engagement and interaction with some of the most famous literature of the early nineteenth century: the works of Mary Shelley, Jane Austen and Lord Byron.

Scott achieved this through penning some of the most insightful, sympathetic and outstanding literary reviews of the age – a time when reviews on all manner of subjects were often more widely read than the original publications. Walter Scott was central to the launch and subsequent popularity of John Murray’s Quarterly Review, and remained a key contributor throughout his years as the most famous and prolific novelist of the time.

With novelists and reviewers often writing anonymously, the story behind the exhibition is one where appearances can be deceiving. Few were as capable at playing this elaborate game as Scott – he even anonymously reviewed his own novels in 1816. This was without doubt, the harshest review these works received.

Two hundred years from the time that Mary Shelley first began work on Frankenstein, in the company of her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron, visitors will be able to see a very rare first edition of the gothic novel belonging to Walter Scott, one of only 500 copies originally circulated, along with his first edition of Jane Austen’s Emma. Visitors will also be able to view a selection of letters and manuscript reviews that bring to life the story behind preparing a work for publication and review, including original documents in the hand of the poet Percy Byssche Shelley, Mary Shelley, Lord Byron and Sir Walter Scott, on loan from the National Library of Scotland. Many of these items will be on display to the public for the first time. There will also be original artwork on display from accomplished artist Hugh Buchanan, inspired by Scott's review of Byron’s famous poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.

"We are delighted to be collaborating with the National Library of Scotland to tell this fascinating story about a community of readers and writers shaping the present, and indeed future, impact of what we now consider to be classic works of literature,” commented Kirsty Archer-Thompson, Collections and Interpretation Manager for the Abbotsford Trust. “Novels such as Frankenstein did not fare well with the reviewing community as a whole and Scott’s acknowledgement of Shelley’s genius ran very much against the grain. This exhibition is a wonderful platform to show that Scott was just as capable of looking to the future as he was to the past.”

The exhibition will be on display at Abbotsford House from Saturday 2 April and run until the end of the season in November. Entry is included as part of the admission ticket to the house. 

For more information, visit www.scottsabbotsford.com

 

 

Tunnel of love

 

The team behind the TweedLove Bike Festival and Tour O The Borders have stepped out of the saddle to create a brand new trail running event in October – one with a spectacular twist in the tail.

Developed by Hillside Outside, the first ever Tweed Valley Trail Run on 1 October will take runners on an autumnal journey along riverside paths, through gorgeous woodland and out into the hills before diving into the Neidpath Tunnel – a 600m disused railway tunnel that will be rigged with special lighting effects and a sound system for the event. The tunnel, which was first opened in 1864 and last saw trains running through it in 1954, is still in remarkably good condition.

Suitable for seasoned trail runners, or complete beginners, participants can choose between two distances – approximately 10k and 20k, all off-road. The event starts and finishes at Hay Lodge Park, Peebles.

For more information, or to book a place, visit www.tunneltrailrun.com

 

 

Ridelines unveils spring skills courses

Ridelines skills courses

 

Having been extremely busy through the winter months, Glentress-based mountain bike tuition and guiding business Ridelines is now gearing up for spring with a range of skills courses, from riding for kids and beginners to honing racing skills and National Governing Body MTB Leadership Training and assessments. Here is the full line-up of courses:

19/20 March, 30 April/1 May and 11/12 June – UKMBLA Level 2 Leadership Training

National Governing Body MTB leadership award delivered right here in the Tweed Valley.

2 April, 15 May and 25 June – Jumpstart Skills Course

Understand the techniques and skills needed to reduce your risks and give you the skills and confidence to get your wheels off the ground! If you have always fancied learning to jump and ride smoother on fast trails then this course will get you off to a great start.

3 April, 14 May and 24 June – Innerduro Core Skills

For those looking to build skills and boost confidence when riding extra technical trail and testing Enduro trails. Ideal for riders exploring Enduro racing and for those who just want to build speed and confidence on more challenging trails.

9 April, 8 May and 4 June – Level 1 (Beginner) Skills Course

Aimed at those new to mountain biking, the focus is on the basic skills that a beginner needs to build solid foundations into their riding.

10 April, 7 May and 5 June – Level 2 (Intermediate) Skills Course for Improvers

Designed for riders who want to improve their technique to achieve greater speed and improved confidence and control on all but the most challenging of trails.

5, 6, 7 April – Easter kids courses

These sessions are designed to be progressive so during the block your young rider will get a whole suite of skills to enhance their riding, confidence and control.​ If you worry they can't keep up, want them to get some top quality riding skills, or want to teach your young rider how to keep it under control even when they're flying, then these courses are ideal. Huge fun all round for kids aged 7–14.

Places on all courses are limited, so be sure to book early to secure the tuition of your choice. To book or for further details, contact enquiries@ridelines.co.uk, or visit www.ridelines.co.uk

(Photograph: Ridelines)

 

 

Moy Mackay Gallery showcases trio of female artists

 

The Moy Mackay Gallery in Peebles has opened the year with a flourish of female artists, all with very different styles.

The gallery’s current exhibition, which runs until 18 March, features work by a trio of outstanding artists: Rosanne Barr, whose sweeping, expansive brushstrokes capture light and land; Karen Wilson (pictured), who also paints in oil but works in an entirely different way creating a more intimate and textural surface ablaze with flowers in the landscape; plus Helen Fay, a printmaker, who creates wonderful renditions of animals in etching – a medium that allows her to explore depth through intense mark making and the creation of deep strong solidity.

Gallery owner Moy Mackay is herself exploring new territory through the development of felt and stitch fibre prints – an exciting complement to her existing, high-quality giclee prints. The fibre prints are extremely sophisticated, hand-finished, luxurious interpretations of Moy’s wonderful originals. 

As well as the featured artists in the current exhibition, the gallery showcases beautifully crafted objects from applied artists, including glass, wood, sculpture and mixed media pieces which together create a visual delight for the senses.

Further info

The Moy Mackay Gallery is tucked away in the Northgate, Peebles. www.moymackaygallery.com

 

 

Discover an outlandish wedding at Cringletie

Weddings at Cringletie House

 

Cringletie House, one of Scotland’s top wedding venues, is inviting all those planning their big day to visit the Borders and discover how wedding dreams can be made true. Inspired by the global phenomenon that is the Outlander series, Cringletie is holding two wedding showcases this month (7 and 28 February) that will enable couples to see how the castle could look on their special day.

“Our two showcase dates will provide a glimpse of what could be enjoyed as couples explore their dreams for a perfect fairy-tale wedding,” explained Johanna Van Houdt, owner and personal wedding organiser.

Set in 28 acres of beautiful Peeblesshire countryside, yet only 40 minutes from Edinburgh airport and city centre, Cringletie House is a baronial-style castle that offers true grandeur, from the luxurious interior to glorious views across the lawns and gardens to rolling hills dotted with Highland cows.

In the Outlander series, the big wedding (featuring Jamie and Claire) was filmed at a church close to Cringletie – perfect inspiration for fans of the series who might like to have their wedding in the same style. From menus to jewellery, the Cringletie wedding team will have the whole-set-up covered, added Van Houdt.

But the two showcase dates will likely generate a few additional ideas, be it making use of the 18th century doocot, the wooden bridge across a bubbling stream and waterfall in the grounds, or the magnificent setting of a 400-year-old walled garden. And there are quirky options too, including having the rings delivered by an alpaca. The only limit is your imagination. 

For more info, visit www.cringletie.com

 

Peebles Outdoor Film Festival returns

Mark Beaumont

 

Global adventurer Mark Beaumont will be one of many star attractions as the Peebles Outdoor Film Festival returns to the Eastgate Theatre later this month (22-24 Jan) with an outstanding line-up of speakers, adventure films and hands-on activities.

Following a successful inaugural festival last February, the 2016 event sees an expanded programme of speakers, shorts and feature-length films covering everything from adventure film-making, cycling and trail running to climbing, skiing, wildlife photography and more.

Appropriately enough for a bike-mad area like the Tweed Valley, the opening day of the festival (Fri 22 Jan) is all about life on two wheels. The day sees some wonderful films – including The Program, Stephen Frear’s new film about the rise and fall of Lance Armstrong – plus presentations by elite Scottish mountain bike rider Lee Craigie, the Tweed Valley’s own rising star of world enduro racing Katy Winton, and global adventurer Mark Beaumont.

Now very much a household name, Mark will share his journey, from the boy who pedalled across Scotland and went on to cycle around the world, to capsizing while rowing across the Atlantic and exploring the high Arctic.

Earlier on the Friday, there will be a chance to find out what some of the kids from Peebles High School really get up to in their spare time – in this case heading into the hills to build mountain bike trails, often with tools hand-made for the job. These young trail blazers will tell all together with Tweed Valley trail-building legend Pete Laing. 

The programme for Saturday begins with the first of two early bird adventures: a chance for energetic dog lovers to try their hand at canicross and bikejor under the expert guidance of the team from Cani-Fit. Later on the same day, Cani-Fit’s Lindsay Johnson will present on the joys of running, cycling and scootering with our four-legged friends – sports that have seen a huge rise in popularity across Scotland.

Also on Saturday, charted forester and mountaineer James Ogilvie will talk about summiting Mount Vinson in Antarctica, so completing his 20-year journey to climb the fabled Seven Summits (the seven highest peaks on each continent); plus there will be a window into the world of the multiple-award-winning Jen Randall, one of the rising young stars of adventure film-making in Scotland. The day is rounded off by National Geo Wild TV presenter, explorer and conservationist Niall McCann who will share stories of his many adventures from around the world.

The third and final day begins early again with an opportunity to join celebrated wildlife photographer Laurie Campbell on a fieldcraft master-class as he walks the banks of the Tweed in search of otter tracks, trails and signs. Born and raised in Berwick, Laurie has delighted in the return of otters to the River Tweed – the subject of his beautifully-illustrated talk later on the same day.

Also on Sunday, local triathlete Scott Noble will tell an entertaining tale of how he caught the triathlon bug; Glasgow-based ultra-runner Elspeth Luke will recount the highs and lows of a remarkable 34-day, 680-mile run along the watershed of Scotland; and Stu Thomson from award-winning production company Cut Media will talk about how he came to work with renowned athletes such as Danny Macaskill (including on the phenomenal viral hit The Ridge) and his plans for future projects.

Each day, the talks will be complemented by a series of short film sessions themed around the joy of riding bikes (Friday), extremes of human endeavour and endurance (Saturday), and worldwide adventure and exploration (Sunday), as well as feature-length presentations.

“We’ve got an exceptional mix of films from around the world covering everything from cycling and fell running to climbing, skiing and some very wild swimming,” explained Rich Rowe, a member of the festival team. “Between them, they will make people laugh, cry, possibly wince a bit and, we hope, also inspire a few outdoor adventures of their own.”

This year, the Peebles Outdoor Film Festival has also launched a new competition for short films that capture the excitement, adventure, or just sheer natural beauty of the outdoors. The winners of the Outdoor Shorts competition will be chosen both by a panel of expert judges and by public vote during the festival, with the winning entries shown on the big screen at the Eastgate as part of the final short film session on the Sunday.

The second Peebles Outdoor Film Festival runs from 22–24 January 2016. Hard copies of the programme are available from the Eastgate Theatre Box Office, or can be viewed online at http://www.eastgatearts.com/content/peebles-outdoor-film-fest-2016

Tickets are available now from Box Office on 01721 725777, or online. Look out for special day passes (£25 adult, £15 child) that include all films and speaker presentations on each of the three days. 

PHOTOGRAPH: NIALL MCCANN

Celebrate St Andrew's Day at Abbotsford

Abbotsford in all its glory

 

Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott, will open its doors for a free celebration of St Andrew’s Day on Monday (10-4pm, 30 Nov), with drop-in activities suitable for all the family. The day will see face painting, arts and crafts activities, special family guided tours, storytelling and a birds of prey display.

It’s a wonderful chance to experience the many different faces of this fascinating house and estate. Visitors will be able to enter competitions to win family passes; build dens in the play trail; take a guided estate walk with the ranger; or simply take in the remarkable beauty of this iconic literary house.

Refreshments will be available in Abbotsford’s Ochiltrees restaurant, which offers lovely views over the walled garden and the historic house. Likewise, the visitor centre shop will be open throughout to purchase souvenirs crafted by local makers, or maybe to find that special Christmas gift ahead of the rush.

The day promises to be a great opportunity for families and the community to learn about Sir Walter Scott’s ‘conundrum castle’. “If you have ever wondered what Abbotsford has to offer families, or been curious about the incredible story of Sir Walter Scott, then now is the time to find out!” said Abbotsford’s Chief Executive Officer, Giles Ingram.

 

 

Christmas at the Macdonald Cardrona

 

The Macdonald Cardrona Hotel & Golf Spa has got Christmas and New Year more than covered this year, with guests invited to come and enjoy a variety of celebratory events over the festive period.

On Christmas Day, there will be a mouthwatering traditional festive carvery lunch for all the family in the hotel's Manderston Suite (£70.50 adult, £30.50 child 12-16 years, £19 per child 5-11 years, under 5s free) that will include a special appearance from Santa.

There is also an opportunity to take the stress out of Christmas Day entertaining with a special adults-only lunch in the elegant surroundings of Renwicks Restaurant (pictured). Just sit back, relax and enjoy a Christmas Day with real panache (2-4pm, £80.50 per person).

And, after a brief pause, the hotel is also gearing up for some exciting celebrations over Hogmanay. The hotel's one-night package (from £225.50 per person) sees a malt whisky and festive tea on arrival on New Year’s Eve, an exquisite black-tie ball (which includes a champagne cocktail, extravagant four-course meal and a brilliant ceilidh band and disco), plus a bucks fizz or Irn-Bru brunch the following morning.

For more details on these and other offers, visit: www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk/our-hotels/macdonald-cardrona-hotel-golf-spa

 

Film festival launches short film competition

Lee Craigie shot on a wild journey from Dundonnel to Poolewe

Image: Lee Craigie (one of the speakers at the 2016 festival) shot on a wild journey from Dundonnel to Poolewe

 

Peebles Outdoor Film Festival 2016 has launched a competition for short films that capture the excitement, adventure, or just sheer natural beauty of life out-of-doors. The winners of the Outdoor Shorts competition will be chosen both by a panel of expert judges and a public vote during the festival, which runs over the weekend of 22–24 January.

Film makers of all ages are invited to submit outdoor-themed films, either documentary or fictional work, of no more than five minutes duration that demonstrate creatively, originality and story-telling skill. Films should explore the theme of life out-of-doors – perhaps an adventure, journey, story, personal experience, or portrait of a person or place.

Films can be submitted in either of two categories, under 18 and open, with two prizes awarded in each category. The deadline for submitting films is midday on Friday 8 January.

During the festival, a viewing facility will be set up in the Eastgate Theatre from 2pm on Friday 22 January until 2pm on Sunday 24 January, during which time festival-goers will be able to view all short-listed films. All entrants in the Outdoor Shorts competition will be invited to attend the short film session, Wild World, on Sunday 24 January between 6.15 and 7pm, when the prize winners will be announced and their films shown on the big screen at the Eastgate.

The inaugural Peebles Outdoor Film Festival took place in February this year, with an outstanding programme of films and speakers that was enthusiastically received by audiences. The 2016 event – the full programme for which will be officially launched at the end of November – will be even stronger still, with a fantastic line-up of top-quality speakers, adventure films, hands-on sessions and a mini-exhibition in the café area, as well as the Outdoor Shorts competition.

An entry form and full guidelines for entrants to the Outdoor Shorts competition can be found at www.eastgatearts.com

The Peebles Outdoor Film Festival runs from 22–24 January 2016. Full details on this year’s programme, including booking information, will be available soon from the Eastgate Theatre Box Office and online. 

 

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