Sir Walter Scott Celebrations Get Underway

Courtesy of The Abbotsford Trust

The 250th anniversary of the Scottish novelist, playwright, and poet Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), author of Ivanhoe, Waverley, and Rob Roy, will be an occasion for a series of events in Scotland and around the world running through 2021 and into 2022.

They kick off officially on March 20—which happily is also World Storytelling Day—at Smailholm Tower near Kelso in the Scottish Borders with a video light show focusing on the young Scott. The tower was owned by Scott’s grandfather and is next door to the farm where Scott lived as a boy when he visited the tower frequently. It appears in his ballad, “The Eve of St. John,” and epic poem, Marmion.

The light show has been created by artist and director Andy McGregor, and organized by Abbotsford, home of Sir Walter Scott near Melrose in the Scottish Borders. An online broadcast of the event at begins at 6pm (GMT) featuring Scott aficionados including BBC Two presenter Kirsty Wark, writer and broadcaster Damian Barr, and historian Professor Sir Tom Devine. It will be beamed onto two facades of Smailholm Tower and uses 3D images, music, and quotes from Scott about how he was inspired by the region and its folklore.

“Sir Walter Scott has long been considered the father of the modern Scottish tourism industry, who ignited an interest in Scotland as a visitor destination,” commented Jenni Steele, film & creative industries manager at VisitScotland. “His life and works are an important piece of the fabric of Scotland’s rich history and continue to play an important role in drawing visitors. With one in six people inspired to visit destinations they know from books, television or film, the yearlong program of celebrations to mark this important milestone will help shine the spotlight on his legacy in the Scottish Borders as well as right across the country.”

Look out for more details about Scott’s 250th in our summer issue.