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Borderlands ‘wild west’ on show at tower event

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By Newsdesk
Borderlands ‘wild west’ on show at tower event

THE DAYS when the borderlands were the ‘wild west’ of the British Isles came vividly to life at an open day at Gilnockie Tower, near Canonbie, on Sunday.

Many local people joined visitors from as far away as Australia, Canada and the USA at a re-enactment at the completely restored 16th century tower house, overlooking the River Esk.

The historic structure is home to the Clan Armstrong Centre which traces the story of the famous reiving family, raiding and stealing from rival clans on both sides of the often shifting borderline, particularly in the surrounding debatable lands.

Illustrating the drama at the weekend was the Teviotdale Steel Bonnets reenactment group, wearing costumes of the period and using replica weapons.

TIME TRAVEL . . . border reivers reenactment specialist Keith Douglas, right, describes the area’s turbulent history to visitors, left to right: Christy Austin, Larry Little, Tish Little, Kory Watson and James Little

The Tower, which also has items of interest about other border families, will remain open daily until late autumn.

Visitor centre manager and local historian Ian Martin hailed the event as a success, adding: “Interest in the fascinating story of reiver country seems as great as ever.

“Awareness is also growing as more people venture out and about and pay us a visit following the difficult pandemic years.


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