What’s On in August in the South of Scotland

by Sara Barton, 20th July 2023
Thirlestane Castle | Scottish Borders
What’s On in August in the South of Scotland

Though the headline event for this month is the UCI World Cycling Championships taking place at Glentress in the Borders for and in in Dumfries, there is lots more going on! Supporting the champs is an array of Fringe events from music to showcases and family cycling days. BUT do not think that is all that the South of Scotland has to offer you this August. The first ever Scottish Windsurfing Championships are taking place, the annual Common Ridings and Riding of the Marches continue across the region and there are some wonderful outdoor events from tattoos to country fairs and theatre in dramatic settings. And at the end of the month is the hotly anticipated Raiders Gravel event. With so much choice your only problem will be fitting it all in!

UCI Cycling World Championships

Where: Glentress; Dumfries

First up is the Mountain Bike Marathon where riders will complete 100km of road, gravel, punishing climbs, long descents and battle to stay mentally tough. Then it is the Mountain Bike Cross Country race. This starts with a crowd of racers at the start line, heading over rough terrain, steep slopes and plenty of mud as riders jostle for position, biding their time to attack in sprint finishes that determine who takes home the medals. Both of these are ticketed events, so be sure to book. And finally Dumfries plays host to the Paracycling Road races with Individual Road Races and Individual Time Trials all taking place in and around the town. As this takes place on public roads, there will be plenty of space to watch and cheer for your favourites, so choose your team, nab your place and make some noise as they speed past – don’t forget to bring a picnic and find a shady spot to relax and lunch afterwards.

Individual time trials in the Paracycling Road races are all about speed and beating the clock.

Cycling Fringe Events

Where: Various

There are many events taking place around the region in celebration of the UCI Championships and we have covered a few of them in our Experience a Summer of Cycling blog. But for a few more ideas, please check out our Events page where we have added more events and the pages of the Scottish Borders Council, which has a link to the Tweed Valley Fringe programme and Dumfries and Galloway What’s Going on, which lists all the events associated with this Summer of Cycling throughout D&G!

Join one of the family days celebrating the bike taking place across the region.

Where: Drumlanrig Castle

This is a great celebration of rural life in the region and a weekend not to be missed with plenty of super family friendly activities and shows taking place. There are dog-friendly events and a food village offering local produce and some food and cocktail demos. Children will enjoy a good bounce on the inflatables and you can try your hand at country sports like clay pigeon shooting, air rifles and fishing.

The Galloway Country Fair includes many family (and dog) friendly events including a show with gundogs.

Common Ridings

Where: Coldstream; Sanquhar

Coldstream‘s Common Riding and Sanquhar‘s Riding of the Marches are the last two towns in the annual calendar to hold their cermonial ridings. Enjoy this wonderful spectacle of mounted riders dressed in their finery heading out to ensure their territories are protected! The Sanquhar riding dates back to the 1740s and Coldstream’s Riding to Flodden is the one of the most popular events in the whole of the season with more than 300 riders taking part. This is a not to miss event with great opportunities for photos that will help you relive the moments of your visit to the South of Scotland.

Must See in 23: The Coldstream Common Riding is popular as it celebrates the Battle of Flodden.
The Coldstream Common Riding is a sight not to miss if you are visiting.

Where: Stranraer

This inaugural windsurfing event over five days in Stranraer is hoping to become a regular championship offering windsurfing racing, training and competition for iQFOiL, Technos, Raceboard, Open Fleet and RSX for adults and youth classes. This is your chance to get a look at iQFOiL, which has been added to the programme for next summer’s Paris 2024 Olympics. This new windsurfing event may leave you wondering what an IQFOiL is? The windsurf board, known as a daggerboard, is replaced by a foil. The result is that instead of floating on the water, the board appears to fly as the hydrofoils on the bottom of the board lift it completely out of the water as it reaches speed. This makes everything go much faster and makes it incredibly exciting to watch!

Brand new event for 2023, the Fin & Foil Open Championships will offer competitions and training for windsurfers.

Where: Traquair House

Looking for culture and thought provoking debate? Head to the Beyond Borders International Festival. This annual weekend-long event encompasses panel discussions and debates alongside a programme of music, visual and performing arts, film, spoken word, and well-being activities such as meditation, yoga, walks, and cycle rides. The event takes place at Traquair House, Scotland’s oldest continuously inhabited house, which is a superb backdrop to the discussions and events exploring the most pressing global issues of our time.

There will be thought-provoking debate and a wide-ranging programme of events at the Beyond Borders International Festival.

Music & Theatre

Where: Various

The fantastically named Foo Birds will be offering soulful vocals at the Eastgate Theatre as part of the Cycling Fringe programme in Peebles. Or perhaps you’d prefer to see the production of the beloved children’s classic The Secret Garden, which is on in the gardens of Thirlestane Castle. If you love the thrill of the pipes and drums then the Floodlit Tattoo in Kirkcudbright is for you. Or perhaps you would like to experience the wonderful intimacy of the bijoux Swallow Theatre near Whithorn and its offering of The Poetical Life of Philomena McGuinness?

Kirkcudbright’s Floodlit Tattoo is just one of many events taking place in the town this summer.

Where: Gatehouse of Fleet

And to put a finishing touch on this month of cycling is the Raiders Gravel event. Now in its third year, Raiders Gravel is putting the South of Scotland on the map as a prime gravel event location. The weekend starts with a social ride on the Thursday evening before the riding stages get underway on Friday. Over three stages of riding, cyclists will cover almost 230km, and plenty of climbing, mostly on the gravel tracks of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere. But Raiders is about more than just riding. There is plenty to entertain riders and locals alike, with talks, presentations, live music, a bar and food.

Riders tackle the gravel tracks and roads within the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere.