Festival fever grips Hawick as reiving times brought to life

Hawick Reivers Festival
Hawick Reivers Festival

THE ninth annual celebration of the town’s reiving history has been hailed as one of the best yet after a weekend blessed with great weather, big crowds and first-class entertainment.

Hawick’s 16th-century heritage was once again brought to life with a packed programme of events which saw the town centre transformed into a bustling market, the town hall stage welcoming local and world-class heroes, the night sky lit up with fireworks, and fun and games at a sunny Wilton Lodge Park, to name only a few.

Festival committee spokesperson Cath Elliott-Walker said: “I think we have had a superb weekend, which was greatly aided by the weather. The whole thing went to plan and as always that was due to hard work by lots of people behind the scenes. A great team effort.”

Hawick’s folk ’n’ roll band Scocha ensured the festival got off to a flying start on Friday night with their annual concert in the town hall, with band member Alan Brydon commenting: “We love to play our home town, it’s always a great atmosphere and Friday night was no exception.”

The main day was then launched in fine style the following morning with a procession led by the Mosstroopers and Fifes and Drums, before Lovel Court, the Textile Towerhouse, Heritage Hub and high school were the venues for a host of reiving events, ranging from crafts, musicians and trials, to drama and talks.

As darkness fell one of the festival’s main attractions once again saw all roads lead to Volunteer Park, as townsfolk in their droves participated in the impressive torchlit procession, before the sky was illuminated with a spectaculuar fireworks display which wowed the large crowd.

It was then time for the spotlight to shine on a major coup for the committee, with internationally-renowned fiddlers Blazin’ Fiddles taking to the town hall stage. Organiser Cath Elliott-Walker commented: “I acheived a personal ambition in getting Blazin’ Fiddles to Hawick and they certainly lived up to their world-class reputation.”

And the group were also full of praise for Hawick after a gig which went down a storm. Manager Gordon Webber told the Hawick News: “The band had a great time, the concert went really well and it was a great audience.” He added: “I also thought it was an excellent venue, the sound was really good and it was a nice space. We would certainly love to come back.”

Sunday morning brought a change of pace but another successful component of the weekend, with the ‘Dander Roon Wilton Lodge Park’ with Ian Landles. Hosted by Hawick Archaeologicial Society and fellow members Iain Lowes and Gordon Macdonald, a group of 45 was treated to 33 points of interest, ranging from the Lawson Bridge, Common Haugh and Cauld, to the Spetch, Mercat Cross and waterfall.

Mr Landles told us: “It was the perfect morning and it went really well. It’s amazing what there is to see and everyone seemed to enjoy it. And shepherd’s pie for lunch at the encampment was the perfect way to finish.”

Sunday’s encampment also boasted a first with the successful children’s reivers sports day which, along with battles. falconry and re-enactments, saw people of all ages head to the park to enjoy the fun and sunshine.

Mrs Elliott-Walker added: “It was tremendous to see all the school kids getting in to the games, with Trinity the winners.

Overall, it was a weekend full of highlights and we couldn’t have asked for more.”