Tweed Valley Blog

  • The Mighty Deerstalker
  • TweedLove
  • Shakespeare at Traquair
  • Beltane Festival, Peebles

 

We’ve already had a couple of fantastic events in the Tweed Valley this year, with hardy competitors braving the snow and ice in the Bowhill Duathlon Series in January, while hundreds more were inspired and entertained at the recent Peebles Outdoor Film Festival.

And the events just keep on coming in the months ahead. Here are six very good reasons to join us in the Tweed Valley this year:

 

1. The Mighty Deerstalker, 12 March

A wet, muddy and by now infamous romp through the Tweed Valley, starting and finishing at Traquair House. Runners can choose from the 5km route (it’s a bit more than that), or the more extreme 10km route (actually a LOT longer than that, much of it in darkness). Dressing up is encouraged – expect plenty of tweed, fake antlers and deerstalker hats – while the routes feature a range of fiendish obstacles.... Read more

  • Harnesses on ...
  • Learning the ropes with Cani-Fit's Lindsay Johnson
  • Ready for a run ...
  • Full tilt alongside the Tweed

 

The recent Peebles Outdoor Film Festival included a fantastic demonstration of cani-cross at Traquair House, led by North Lanarkshire-based Cani-Fit. For those who’ve not come across it before, cani-cross is an increasingly popular sport that involves running with your dog, attached with a special harness and bungee lead. The really intrepid then tried scootering and cycling with their dogs … great fun had by all as these pictures show! The hope is that we might see some cani-cross events in the valley some time in the future. It's certainly a sport with a growing following elsewhere in Scotland. Watch this space ...  Read more

  • Mark Beaumont headlines the opening night of the Peebles Outdoor Film Festival - Fri, 22 Jan

 

Now very much a household name, global adventurer Mark Beaumont is one of the star turns at this year’s Peebles Outdoor Film Festival. We caught up with Mark ahead of his headline appearance at the festival this coming Friday evening (22 Jan)

 

You are best known for your two-wheel adventures and feats of endurance … why bikes, what got you started riding?

When I was 11 years old, I read in the Courier about a chap who cycled from John O’ Groats to Land’s End. I was inspired and set out to cycle across Scotland. After that, the journeys just got bigger and bigger!

You grew up in rural Perthshire … how important was your home patch in shaping your future life as an adventurer?

I had a rather wild start to life as I was home schooled and spent most of my time working and playing on... Read more

  • Eddi Reader headlines this year's Innerleithen Music Festival
  • Skipinnish - another top act at this year's Innerleithen Music Festival
  • Beyond Borders International Festival
  • King and Queen of the Hill

 

Even by Tweed Valley standards, this weekend is a busy one. The action begins on Friday with the start of the acclaimed Innerleithen Music Festival – a must-attend for all those with a love of Celtic music. This year’s terrific line-up sees the likes of Eddi Reader, Skippinish and the Friel Sisters steal the headlines, but there’s also the Live and Local Fringe (a chance for up and coming local talent to strut their stuff), music workshops led by some of the best in the business, street busking and plenty more besides. For more info, have a read of our festival blog.

This weekend also sees one of the biggest mountain bike enduro events in the Scottish race calendar. The Whyte Endura Scottish Open, King and Queen of the Hill features some track sections used at the Enduro World Series race in May, and aims to... Read more

  • Eddi Reader will make her third appearance at the Innerleithen Music Festival
  • Skipinnish - voted Live Act of the Year at the 2014 Scots Trad Music Awards
  • Local boy Tommy Ashby will be a huge draw at the festival
  • The wonderful Friel Sisters ... the best of the Glasgow-Irish tradition

 

With just a few days to go until this year's Innerleithen Music Festival, we caught up with Robin Dempsey, a member of the organising committee, to find out what's in store

 

You all set, or still a few final things to do?

All the main elements have been in place for months – bands, PA, hall bookings, ticket sales etc – so we’re down to the tasks we can only do in the run-up to the festival, including final publicity. We’re now putting up banners, keeping Facebook fed and other last minute bits and pieces.

For those who have never been before, how would you describe the festival?

It’s based in the fine wee town of Innerleithen, so it’s not a greenfield festival site. It features a mix of concerts in the 400-seater Memorial Hall with big names from what we loosely call ‘Celtic’ music to small-scale... Read more

  • Cleikum Ceremonies, St Ronan's Wells
  • A wonderfully decorated house
  • One of many parades on Innerleithen High Street
  • Fancy dress parade

 

Not to be outdone by that lot up the road in Peebles with their fancy Beltane Festival, Innerleithen has a rather special celebration of its own which gets under way today – the St Ronan’s Border Games.

The oldest organised sports meeting in Scotland, the Games have run almost continuously since their inception in 1827. Originally a mini-Olympics for amateur sportsmen featuring events such as sprint, middle distance running, long jump and hammer throwing, the Games once also included such eccentricities as whippet racing and – best of all – a competition to see who could be the first to climb a greasy pole.

Innerleithen even had its own handba’ match that saw teams from opposite sides of the Tweed go head to head in what by all accounts was often a bruising encounter. It’s fair to say that today’s games are rather more civilised, with professional runners coming... Read more

 

In what is the group’s 20th annual production, the 2015 season of Shakespeare at Traquair sees a performance of Hamlet. Ahead of opening night on Wednesday, we caught up with some of the players to talk beards, peacocks, audience participation and the challenges of putting on a promenade performance

Scott Noble’s first involvement as an actor in Shakespeare at Traquair many years ago was nothing short of nerve-wracking. “It was The Taming of the Shrew and my character and one other were the first ones on,” he recalls. “We had to start on the lawn at Traquair where the audience was milling around having a glass of wine and just start speaking. Right from the off we were part of the audience. It was quite an adrenaline rush.”

Such audience immersion is one of the special challenges of a promenade performance; with no stage to restrict movement, and... Read more

  • Rod Mitchell, Founder of E-Motion Bikes
  • Hazel and Ellen about to embark on a 40-mile round trip
  • Simon Hermiston from Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, Golf & Spa - one of the rental points - gets to grips with an e-bike
  • The E-Motion Bikes rental delivery van has become a familiar sight around the Tweed Valley!

 

In a place like the Tweed Valley where pedal power is king, the notion of getting around using electric bikes will have some scratching their heads. But that has not stopped new Visit Tweed Valley member E-Motion Bikes from seeing huge interest in rentals of its top-of-the-range electric bikes.

Based at Cardrona, E-Motion rents (and sells) a variety of electric bikes that enable visitors to explore the Tweed Valley without having to worry about climbing the area’s many hills. Designed in Germany by premium electric bike manufacturer A2B, the main hire bike available – the Hybrid 24 – is ideal for experiencing the wonderfully quiet B-roads, cycle paths and forest fire roads that are all around.   

Bikes can be rented for a half or full day, with delivery to several rental points across the Tweed Valley, including the Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, Peebles Hydro Hotel, Tontine Hotel and... Read more

  • A gentle initial approach through colourful St Ronan's Wood
  • Now it gets a little tougher (he won't be smiling soon ...)
  • Onwards and upwards ...
  • Final push ...

 

Looking for incredible views up and down the Tweed Valley when next in the area? Then let us recommend a jaunt up Lee Pen – the pointy summit that looms high above the lovely town of Innerleithen. At 502m, it’s no giant, but Lee Pen is still one of the highest hills in the area. And it’s no walk in the park either, with the final push to the summit one to really get the blood pumping. Most walkers opt for a short, sharp out and back route through St Ronan’s Wood behind Innerleithen (see route description here), although it’s also possible to create a circular route, returning via the fish ladder on Leithen Road (near the golf course). Just don't forget your camera! 

  Read more

  • An example of Moy Mackay's felted painting
  • Moy in her gallery on Peebles' Northgate
  • The gallery also displays work from a host of fine and applied artists
  • A recent 'house' commission by Moy

 

Tucked away on Peebles’ Northgate, the delightful Moy Mackay Gallery first opened in March 2012, although its arrival was never really part of the plan. “I didn’t intend to open a gallery, it just somehow happened that way,” explains owner and artist Moy Mackay.

However, the gallery’s many loyal customers will be glad she did. An instant success, the gallery is now managed day-to-day by Gillian Sosa and a small team of staff, leaving Moy with time to create new works from her other base at the WASPS Studios in Selkirk.

The gallery sees work from around 30 contemporary fine and applied artists, many of whom are Borders-based. Most of the other featured artists are from elsewhere in Scotland.

Accessible to all, it’s a gallery that sees much care and attention put into aesthetics. “We want customers to be warmly welcomed and not be intimidated,” says Moy. “It’s art... Read more

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