Originally broadcast by BBC Radio 4 in Sept 2008.
Hardeep encounters the tales of the reivers in the second part of his journey along the Scottish Border, which takes him from the valley of Liddesdale to Gretna Green. The reivers were the families who plundered and stole and turned their part of the Border into what was known as ‘the Bad Lands’. The dark block of Hermitage Castle is a proof of how the English tried to control them, from which Hardeep escapes to meet the benign presence of Lord Steel in the valley of Ettrick.
Lord Steel remembers his early days as a Liberal MP when the Borders were the forgotten part of Scotland, and discusses Scottish devolution and the ruling SNP’s pledge to call a referendum for independence in 2010. Eric Robson (chairman of Gardeners’ Question Time) considers himself a true Borderer since he was born in Scotland and lives in Cumbria. He takes Hardeep into the heart of the Debateable Lands, where the Border was at its most unruly, as they try to discover the earthwork that was the Scottish Dyke, the last piece of the Border to be established in 1552.
From there it’s a visit to Gretna Green, which for many is the best known part of the Border. Couples have eloped across the Border since the 1750’s and they’re still coming. The Gretna marriage industry splices the knot of up to 5,000 weddings a year, and Hardeep coincides with a wedding party and a busload of tourists from Taiwan before setting off for his final destination at the Border’s westernmost point. This is where the Border runs into the Solway Firth and Eric Robson is on hand to sum up the Borderers’ spirit and guts in the face of their violent past.
from Where Scotland Meets England
released November 23, 2010
Originally Broadcast On BBC Radio 4 in 2008.
Presented by Hardeep Singh Kohli
Edited & Executive Produced by Neil Gardner
Produced by Richard Bannerman
(c) 2008, A Ladbroke Productions (Radio) Release
all rights reserved