Sir Walter Scott: Festival to mark 250th anniversary of author's birth

A new festival is set to celebrate the life and works of Sir Walter Scott on what would have been the writer’s 250th birthday.

Abbotsford House in the Scottish Borders, the former home of Sir Walter Scott, will host the first ever ScottFest next month to celebrate the life and works of the hugely influential writer. PIC: CC.
Abbotsford House in the Scottish Borders, the former home of Sir Walter Scott, will host the first ever ScottFest next month to celebrate the life and works of the hugely influential writer. PIC: CC.

ScottFest will be held at Abbotsford, Scott’s former pile in the Scottish Borders, on the weekend of August 14 and 15 with the first event themed around his novel Ivanhoe.

The story explores the 12th Century conflicts between the Norman overlords and the conquered Saxons and between Richard the Lionheart and his scheming brother, Prince John

The medieval feast of chivalry, honour and personal glory also introduces Robin Hood, with Scott’s depiction of the King of Outlaws shaping the modern legend.

The 250th anniversary of the birth of Sir Walter Scott will be marked next month. PIC: CC.

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ScottFest will unpack a programme rich in events such as jousting, stunt horse riding, living history displays, falconry and archery in a bid to bring the story to life.

Giles Ingram, Chief Executive at Abbotsford, said: “ScottFest is a new festival, funded this year by EventScotland, that will be staged annually on Scott’s birthday, enabling us to continue to celebrate Scott’s achievements and influence on Scottish life after the 250th anniversary commemorations have ended.

“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 and a cause for celebration after the difficult year everyone has been through.”

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Sir Walter Scott: Errors to be written out of poems in £1m project

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Mr Ingram said Abbotsford would be transformed into a “colourful carnival site” over the festival weekend.

On show will be Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe Jousting Tournament, equestrian displays of stunt riding from the Horsepower Cossack Stunt Show, The Teviotdale Steel Bonnets’ demonstration of weaponry, surgery and cookery; Ettrick Valley Archers’ shooting demonstrations and displays of birds of prey from Falconry Scotland.

Sir Walter Scott, who was born in Edinburgh on August 15, 1771, helped create the Romantic image of Scotland – underpinned by misty mountains, heroes and tartan - which endures today.

His poem Lady of the Lake, which spans six cantos, is credited with helping to found the Scottish tourist industry.

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More than 23,000 copies of the poem, set around Loch Katrine and the Trossachs, were sold – a literary phenomenon of its time – with the Romantic depiction of Scotland sold along with the verse.

Last month, a major £1m project to help mark the 250th anniversary was announced at Aberdeen University.

Scott scholars will erase mistakes from his poems that were made during the printing process given the author’s hard-to-read handwriting and the speed at which the work was published at the height of his popularity.

Academics will revisit Scott’s original manuscripts, which were composed in the 19th century, to root out errors and republish the works.

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The project will help create the first half of a complete edition of verse, which will span ten volumes in time.

Tickets for the first ScottFest will be available soon at www.scottsabbotsford.com.

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