Reiving spirit shines in sun

Hawick Reivers Festival 2012
Hawick Reivers Festival 2012

Hawick celebrated a decade of the Reivers Festival at the weekend with bumper crowds flocking to a series of events that reflected the traditions of a bygone age.

The event first took place in 2003 and has grown year-on-year, with the latest instalment a resounding success, according to chief organiser Cath Elliot-Walker.

Teries got into the reiving spirit with some'eye-catching period dress

Teries got into the reiving spirit with some'eye-catching period dress

“The weather was the highlight, and it’s been as good a festival as we’ve had,” said Mrs Elliot-Walker. “In the nice weather, people were out looking for something to do, and there was plenty for them. The High Street was buzzing.

“There was a huge turnout at Wilton Lodge Park on Sunday for the school sports, which went really well. There was a big turnout for the torchlight procession, too, and everyone thought the fireworks were spectacular.

“The concerts were well-attended, too, and we sold out of Reivers Ale – all 240 bottles.”

Mrs Elliot-Walker wished to thank the organising committee and scores of volunteers who ensured the smooth running of the weekend-long festival.

Rocky Johnstone faced some rough justice in the Lovel Court stocks

Rocky Johnstone faced some rough justice in the Lovel Court stocks

“Thanks go to everyone who contributed in making this weekend another resounding success,” she said.

“A huge number of people, both as individuals and as members of clubs and societies, put in effort before and during the weekend.

“I personally want to thank the hard-working central committee for all their input over the whole year and boundless energy over this weekend. The crowds were great, and all the hard work and effort truly paid off.”

Ian Landles, of Hawick Archaeological Society, gave a lecture on the making of his book Walking In The Land of the Reivers, which attracted around 40 people. He said the event offered much to the local community and that its success was testament to the hard work of the organisers.

“We’ve really built up some momentum now with the Reivers Festival, and that’s a real tribute to Cath Elliot-Walker

“With the weather outside, I felt maybe people would rather not come inside for my lecture, but it went well, with 30-40 there.

“An event like this keeps the reiving era at the forefront. That period of time was not for the nervous. The Borders is a haven of peace now compared to then. It was gory stuff, but these are the people from whom we are descended and we still retain a lot of their rugged independence – without the violence, which we keep for the rugby field!

“It’s really encouraging the way it’s become a feature of the Hawick calendar and is a great precursor to the Common-Riding.”

Provost Ron Smith hailed this year’s event as a fitting way to celebrate ten years of the festival.

“The Reivers Festival was a great success – a tenth anniversary to be proud of. In the wonderful weather, the crowds turned out in force and there was a great atmosphere.”

If you captured images of the weekend, you can enter the festival’s photography competition, sponsored by Derek Lunn Photography. Participants are invited to enter across three age groups: primary school (up to 12 years), high school (13-18 years) and adult (19 or older). Each applicant can submit two photographs, along with a completed application form (available from, to

The organising committee is always looking for ways to improve the festival. Any suggestions on how to make next year’s event even better should be directed to Cath on 372962.