Earlier this week the Borders Book Festival was officially launched overlooked by Calton Hill in the stunning roof top venue of The Glasshouse Hotel on Greenside Lane, Edinburgh.
I hope to be involved this year sketching from the four day festival which takes place each year within the walled gardens of Harmony House in the centre of Melrose.
The beautiful town of Melrose, just 35 miles from Edinburgh can now be reached via the Borders Railway, which reopened less than two years ago and rolls through some beautiful scenery. HERE is my sketch blog from the opening journey in 2015, I am looking forward to returning to the train for the trip to the festival, which runs from the 15th to 18th June.
With over 100 events at this years Borders Book Festival there is something for everyone, including a number of big name celebrities (John Cleese, Judy Murray and Steve Backshall to name just three) and an extensive Family Book Festival which I will be taking the Sketcher Twins to. I like the fact all there is no entry charge for adults accompanying children to Family Book Festival events.
So have a look at the full programme using the link below and book yourself a few events, and be sure to take the train for a lovely relaxing way to arrive.
The past weekend the Sketcher Clan took a short break in the Borders to try out our new tent and found a beautiful little campsite hidden in the woods.
With twins who are five and a half Mrs Sketcher and I though it was a good time to invest in a family tent and introduce the kids to the wonderful world of camping.
Although not the sleeping on hard ground, crawling in and out of your tent, getting dressed without standing up camping that I knew as a boy, oh no. This was more like glamping to me – blow up beds and a 6 man tent with seperate rooms, that you can walk through without ducking once! The words ‘don’t know you’re born’ came to mind but I resisted.
We set off from Edinburgh after collecting the wee ones from school and were headed to a campsite near Berwick but unfortunately half way there we found out they had closed so had a slightly panicked internet search to find another one with space and our one must have – the freedom to light a fire.
This was more like glamping to me – blow up beds and a 6 man tent with seperate rooms
So after a slight detour we found our self at Ruberslaw Wild Woods Camping just outside Hawick.
We couldn’t of been more pleased, the site is partly within a walled garden, surrounded by trees and with cars kept to the very close car park it is perfect for kids to make friends and wander free. Plus we had our own fire pit sit around at night toasting marshmallows. Pure Bliss.
Hopefully autumn still has a few sunny weekends to come so if you can head along for a mini break before they close at the end of October.
This week saw the near fifty year wait for train services to be reinstated in the Borders come to an end, as the new Borders Railway route opened to the public.
The longest domestic railway built in the UK for over a century, the new route was funded by Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government and constructed by Network Rail. It features thirty miles of new track and seven new stations between Edinburgh Waverley and Tweedbank.
The new line through the Borders will hopefully encourage more visitors out of Edinburgh and help the local communities in the area travel into Scotland’s capital much easier. A range of new buildings and attractions are planned along the route to increase tourism in the area.
I travelled along the new route last week and sketched my highlights, the landscape is breath taking and cuts through hills and valleys, over rivers and through picturesque ex-mining villages. I look forward to taking the train again and discovering more about the beauty and history within the Border country.