Festival to shine a light on region’s history and heritage

Floors Castel stately home lit up with blue lights against a night sky

Published: Monday, 07th August 2017

A unique event linking more than 25 historic sites across the Scottish Borders will open this year’s Scottish Borders Heritage Festival.

Lighting the Borders, designated a signature event for Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, will see sites such as Floors Castle, Ayton Castle and Peniel Heugh flooded with blue light for three nights from Friday 1 September to Sunday 3 September.

In addition, 11 of the sites will also host special free and ticketed events over those three days, including music, theatre and living history, celebrating and reflecting on the region’s history, heritage and cultural diversity.

The Scottish Borders Heritage Festival

This runs throughout September and includes over 200 events. It is being delivered by Live Borders in partnership with ourselves and the Borders Heritage Forum.

View the full programme of events, including details of all the sites and events as part of Lighting the Borders.

Funding for the festival has been provided by:

  • Creative Scotland
  • Museums and Galleries Scotland
  • EventScotland (as part of the Year of History)
  • Heritage and Archaeology
  • Fallago Environment Fund

Floors Castle will be Lighting the Borders

It will be the first time Floors castle, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe, has been lit in this way.

Roddy Jackson, Roxburghe Estate Factor

“Floors Castle is thrilled to be part of Scottish Borders Heritage Festival’s opening event 'Lighting the Borders’.

“Promoting the unique history and heritage of the Scottish Borders is an integral part of our business and we welcome the opportunity to further this aim through inclusion in the regional Scottish Borders Heritage Festival programme.

“We view the festival as a key element in developing economic and cultural benefit for the region and are delighted to once again host a range of events in the programme.”

Paula Ward, VisitScotland Regional Director

“2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories and unique experiences as part of Scotland’s 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology celebrations. 

“The historic environment forges connections between people and the places where they live and visit, as well as being an integral and iconic part of our national brand.

“The plans to shine a spotlight on the region’s historic landscape through light, story, performance and song as part of the opening celebrations for the Borders Heritage Festival gives wonderful recognition of the unique and spectacular heritage we have right here on our doorstep.”

Councillor Euan Jardine, Executive Member for Culture and Sport

“Lighting the Borders is an incredible opening to this year’s Scottish Borders Heritage Festival and will truly capture the attention of local people and visitors.

“A chain of light will be formed across the landscape at dusk each evening linking these historic sites, re-enacting the lighting of signal fires from the time of the Border Reivers.”

Other Lighting the Borders events

  • the Scottish Vocal Ensemble will perform at Neidpath Castle, near Peebles
  • a lantern parade and Covenanter’s Conventicle at Duns Law in Berwickshire
  • a Norman feast and music will be held at Riddell Tower, near Lilliesleaf

Ewan Jackson, Chief Executive of Live Borders

“In addition to the lighting element, this opening event sees a remarkable variety of events taking place in historic sites across the Borders, including mass choirs, re-enactments and torchlight parades.

“This will highlight in so many ways the rich history, heritage and archaeology of the Scottish Borders and we hope to welcome visitors from across Scotland and beyond for the start of the Borders Heritage Festival, and right throughout September at the numerous events taking place.”

Get involved and share your images

If you are attending the events and capturing the unique lighting of sites, share your images using

  • #BheritageF17
  • #HHA2017

See it first

Images are available on our Flickr page, including Floors Castle and Neidpath Castle lit in blue following a recent test of the lighting system being used.

Sites involved in Lighting up the Borders

  • Aikwood Tower and Ayton Castle
  • Bowhill House
  • Coldstream Community Centre
  • Duns Castle, Duns Law and Duns Parish Church
  • Eyemouth Fort
  • Fatlips Castle and Floors Castle
  • Gunsgreen House
  • Hermitage Castle and Hume Castle
  • Jedburgh Abbey and Jedburgh Castle Jail
  • Kelso Abbey and Kelso Town Hall
  • Mary Queen of Scots House
  • Melrose Abbey
  • Neidpath Castle and Newark Castle
  • Old Parish & St Paul’s Church
  • Peniel Heugh
  • Riddell Tower
  • Smailholm Tower and Stobs Camp
  • Thirlestane Castle

Find out more about 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology