Follow VisitScotland

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

Press Release   •   Aug 07, 2017 12:06 BST

Floors Castle Credit: Sam Cornwell

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, which runs throughout September and includes over 200 events, is being delivered by Live Borders in partnership with Scottish Borders Council and the Borders Heritage Forum.

A full programme of events, including details of all the sites and events as part of Lighting the Borders can be found online at

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 - and the Fallago Environment Fund.

To light Floors Castle, Scotland’s largest inhabited castle, every shutter will be closed and special film placed over the floodlights. It will be the first time the castle, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe, has been lit in this way.

Roddy Jackson, Roxburghe Estate Factor said:

“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 said:

“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, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Sport, added:

“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.”

As part of Lighting the Borders the Scottish Vocal Ensemble will perform at Neidpath Castle, near Peebles, a lantern parade and Covenanter’s Conventicle will take place at Duns Law in Berwickshire, and a Norman feast and music will be held at Riddell Tower, near Lilliesleaf.

Ewan Jackson, Chief Executive of Live Borders, said:

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.”

Those attending the events and capturing the unique lighting of sites are encouraged to share their images using the hashtags #BheritageF17 and #HHA2017.

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • To ensure everyone can safely enjoy Scotland’s amazing countryside and landscapes, VisitScotland encourages all visitors to fully respect their surroundings by behaving in a responsible and appropriate way.
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit or follow @scotgovESIF
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • For more information visit or join the conversation at #HHA2017