Three day festival dedicated to Sir Walter Scott set to return

Thousands of people will celebrate Scotland's history, literature and culture next month in a major festival inspired by the life and works of Sir Walter Scott.

One of Sir Henry Raeburn's portraits of Sir Walter Scott and his dogs, painted in the 1820s.Courtesy of the Faculty of Advocates Abbotsford Collection Trust
One of Sir Henry Raeburn's portraits of Sir Walter Scott and his dogs, painted in the 1820s.Courtesy of the Faculty of Advocates Abbotsford Collection Trust

The second annual ScottFest will take place at Abbotsford, the author’s baronial mansion on the banks of the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders.

The festival was launched last year as part of the 250th anniversary celebrations of Scott’s birth.

This year's event has been extended to three-days over the author's birthday weekend, from August 12-14.

ScottFest 2022 will see Abbotsford, where Scott wrote some of his most famous novels, transformed into a colourful carnival site with three full days of entertainment, food, drink and crafts.

Celebrations will include jousting performances, birds of prey with handling sessions, traditional medieval music and dance.

The opening day will also include a special appearance from the Dandie Dinmont Terriers, including a "race to victory". The breed's name can be traced back to Scott's novel Guy Mannering.

Around 4500 people are expected to attend over the three days.

Giles Ingram, Chief Executive at Abbotsford, said: "After a successful first year, we’re delighted to be bringing ScottFest back as a three-day event in 2022, with support from EventScotland.

"Held annually for Sir Walter Scott’s birthday, this event celebrates Scott’s achievements and influence on Scottish life.

"We are now putting the final plans in place for what promises to be a fantastic weekend of entertainment for locals and visitors, an opportunity for a great day out on the last weekend of the school holidays."

Scott, born in Edinburgh's Old Town on 15 August 1771, was an international phenomenon in the 19th century.

He published his first novel, Waverley, anonymously, at the age of 44, and became the first English-language author to have a truly international career in his own lifetime.

Having been appointed Sheriff-Depute of Selkirkshire in 1799, Scott’s professional life was largely in the Borders and he combined his writing and editing with his legal career.

Although some of his most famous works, such as the Waverley novels, are based in the Trossachs, it was between Melrose and Selkirk that he made his home, buying a farm in 1811. With his fame, fortune and family growing, Scott transformed in stages the original farm, creating Abbotsford, which – at great financial and personal cost – was completed in 1824.

The excessive writing eventually took its toll on Scott, and after suffering three strokes in quick succession, he died aged 61 at Abbotsford home in September 1832.

ScottFest organiser The Abbotsford Trust was formed in 2007 following the death of Dame Jean Maxwell Scott, the last descendant of Sir Walter Scott to live in the house.

The Trust aims to preserve, protect and improve Abbotsford and its surroundings and enhance knowledge and understanding about the life and works of Scott.

Access to the estate will be by event ticket only, which will also include entry to Scott’s historic home and gardens.