Economic boost in prospect as Hawick gets ready to walk on the wild side

Hawick is already popular with walkers but will be even more so next year.
Hawick is already popular with walkers but will be even more so next year.

Hawick is in line for an economic boost after being chosen to host next year’s Scottish Borders Walking Festival.

Scottish Borders Council’s executive committee has announced the hosts for the festival, an annual event since 1995, for the next three years.

It was agreed that Hawick stages the event next year, followed by Ettrick, Yarrow and Selkirk in 2019 and Jedburgh and Ancrum in 2020.

This year’s festival, on from Sunday, September 3, to Saturday, September 9, is being held in Peebles.

The event attracts visitors from far and wide, generating income for businesses such as cafes and hotels.

Hawick has staged the festival on no fewer than four previous occasions – in 1996, 2003, 2009 jointly with Jedburgh and 2011.

The festival has only been cancelled once before due to the foot and mouth disease outbreak in 2002.

It normally includes three to five walks each day and features a programme of entertainment in the evening too.

The council’s countryside access team is tasked with ensuring the festival goes ahead smoothly each year, and it invites expressions of interest from all the area’s community councils.

Six communities responded to the call to be hosts for 2018 to 2020.

The annual event, led by the community hosting it, brings significant economic benefits to the Borders by promoting walking-orientated tourism and encouraging visitors to come to the region from across the UK and Europe.

To promote year-round walking in the Borders, the council has developed a dedicated website.

To be found online at www.borderswalking.com, it lists dozens of walks from the Berwickshire coast to the hills in Tweeddale and everywhere in between.

Detailed route maps and instructions can be downloaded for free, including the full Paths Around … series of booklets. Electronic mapping information for each walk can also be downloaded to be used with GPS devices.