Doors opened to Selkirk for Borders Railway passengers

A free half-hourly shuttle bus service will take passengers from Tweedbank Rail Station to Selkirk town centre on Saturday 17 September, when a total of 17 buildings can be accessed free of charge as part of Doors Open Day.

Doors Open Day is Scotland’s largest free annual architectural event which sees hundreds of properties not normally open to the public made accessible for one day during September.

Co-ordinated nationally by the Scottish Civic Trust and part of European Heritage Days, the local programme has been developed this year by Selkirk Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme with a wide mix of buildings open to the public in and around the town.

Among the highlights in Selkirk is Sir Walter Scott’s Courthouse, where the famous novelist himself served as Sheriff in the 19th century. It will host a dramatic re-enactment of a case involving robbery and a secret liaison.

Other buildings to be opened up include Haining House, the Duke of Buccleuch’s Bowhill House, the striking modernist studio of the late designer Bernat Klein and observation tower on the nearby Riddell Estate.

Selkirk’s textile past is recognised with the traditional Forest Mill operated by Andrew Elliot open for tours, as well as a mills walking tour around the area which once made the Royal Burgh a key part of the industrial revolution.

There is also an opportunity for a guided walk around the £31.4million Selkirk Flood Protection Scheme, which will provide long-term protection to almost 600 properties against major flood events, while local poet Julian Colton will lead a walk which celebrates the historical town through verse and storytelling.

In addition, a selection of vintage cars will be on display in the Market Place in advance of the Selkirk Vintage Car Rally which takes place on Sunday 18 September at Sunderland Hall.

Councillor Ron Smith, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Planning and Environment, said: “There is a wide variety of interesting buildings and events to take in for Selkirk Doors Open Day, from ancient ruins to stately mansions and historic kirks.

“The day forms an important part of the Borders Heritage Festival, which aims to display the cultural and historical assets we have in the region.

“With the first anniversary of the Borders Railway upon us, it is pleasing that a free half-hourly shuttle bus will link the train to Selkirk, making Doors Open Day even more accessible.”

Colin Gilmour, Selkirk CARS Officer, said: “Doors Open Days is a great way to catch a glimpse inside some fantastic buildings which you may not have seen inside before.

“The programme this year contains some wonderful opportunities to encourage the whole family to explore buildings including a kids pack to keep the little ones interested which will be available on the day from our base in the Victoria Halls.”

For more information on the full programme of open buildings and events, visit www.doorsopendays.org.uk, email selkirkcars@scotborders.gov.uk or programmes are available in libraries and museums across the Borders.