The 25th Scottish Borders Walking Festival, currently taking place in and around Selkirk and the valleys, is one of the best ever.
That was the verdict of Scottish Borders Council convener David Parker as he helped open the festival in style at the town’s Victoria Halls on Saturday.
Also entertaining walkers were Selkirk Silver Band, organisers Sue Briggs and Alastair Pattullo, a cracking Clarsach duo and television presenter Cameron McNeish, best known for BBC2’s Wilderness Walks.
As well as the walks themselves, there have been nightly events to give a bit of colour, such as local video historian Mark Nichol talking about the Reivers and former Southern Reporter editor John Smail giving a presentation on his A Souter’s Year DVD.
On Sunday, three different walks all had the same destination – St Mary’s Kirkyard in the Yarrow Valley, where a service was held for walkers.
The uptake on tickets for the walks has been superb, with 95% of them being snapped up.
Sue told us: “All the shorter walks and strolls are gone, but there’s still a few tickets left for some of the longer walks, which can be booked at the Victoria Halls or the Scott’s Selkirk shop.”
There was also a special presentation for one pair of walkers who have been to every single one of the events over the last 25 years.
Sue said: “Helen Budge, who is registered blind, and her friend and guide Peter McDermott – both from Edinburgh – have been been coming to the festival since the first one in 1995 in West Linton. That’s 25 outings.
“In 2008, Helen broke her leg, but they still came to the festival for the craic and to spend time with their many walker friends.”
The pair were presented with long-service awards, in the shape of scarves donated by the town’s Lochcarron factory.
There’s also an end-of-festival ceilidh at the Victoria Halls tomorrow.