What’s on in September

by Sara Barton, 30th August 2023
Stranraer Oyster Festival | Dumfries & Galloway
What’s on in September

Get ready to immerse yourself in a whirlwind of excitement this September as the South of Scotland comes alive with an array of captivating events. From the heart-pounding aerial pyrotechnic display celebrations at the Stranraer Oyster Festival to the literary magic of the 25th anniversary of the Wigtown Book Festival, this month promises unforgettable experiences for all. Nature enthusiasts can lace up their boots for the Moffat Walking Festival, while music lovers can groove to their heart’s content at several vibrant music festivals kicking off the month. Here are just a few highlights of the diverse happenings in the South of Scotland this September!

Stranraer Oyster Festival

Location: Stranraer

Celebrating the native oysters found in nearby Loch Ryan, the Stranraer Oyster Festival has grown in popularity year on year. This year chefs Tony Singh, Michael Caines, Julie Lin and Felicity Cloake will be in the demonstration kitchen celebrating this tasty mollusk. Don’t miss the annual Shuck off where competitors race to remove the notoriously tricky shells faster than their rivals, and as night falls watch for the incredible aerial light display over Stranraer harbour. Those with energy to dance will enjoy the varied music filling the entertainment tent each evening. Children are well catered for with entertainer Daffy Dill, silent discos, magicians, face painting and more. The festival winds up with the Final of the Oyster Eating competition.

Tony Singh will be joined by multiple chefs in the demonstration kitchen this year.

Location: Wigtown

The 10-day Wigtown Book Festival based in Scotland’s National Book town is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and has been guest curated by journalist and book lover Lee Randall. This year’s spectacular line up ranges from journalist Fergal Keane to author Kate Mosse, tennis expert Judy Murray and Strictly Come Dancing winner Hamza Yassin. Listen to broadcaster Gavin Esler, the 2020 Women’s Prize Winner, Maggie O’ Farrell, comedian Josie Long, acclaimed author Michael Morpurgo – the list goes on and on. Nestled in the heart of the Galloway Hills with stunning views of sky and sea, the Wigtown Book Festival is a literary delight not to be missed. And bring the kids – a superb children’s programme runs concurrently with plenty of activities and fun for children of all ages.

Must See in 23: The Wigtown Book Festival in September is a 10 day celebration of the written word.
The Wigtown Book Festival celebrates 25 years in 2023.

The Moffat Golden Eagle Festival

Location: Moffat

Following the fantastic news that eight new golden eagle chicks have been successfully relocated to the South of Scotland over the summer, you’ll want to head to the Moffat Eagle Festival later in the month. Now in its third year, the festival has been organised to help secure vital support for the charity’s continued conservation efforts and celebrate the UK’s first Eagle Town of Moffat. Celebrating this summer’s new additions, which will bring the total population of golden eagles in the south to around 46, will be BBC Springwatch presenter Iolo Williams, who will be giving the keynote speech. In addition this year’s programme includes a family fun day, an Eagle Hill Fell Run, a motorbike event, a chainsaw demonstration by Moffat-based award-winning carver Peter Bowsher, live music, wildlife and author talks.

Head to Moffat to celebrate and support the Golden Eagle Festival.

Music Festivals

Location: Various

Early September leaves music fans spoilt for choice with multiple gigs happening across the region. At Music at the Multiverse the headline acts include Scouting for Girls; Celtic trad-rockers Skerryvore; and Scottish rock legends Big Country! Meanwhile at Edgefest headliners include the international star Billy Ocean, Scottish favourites Wet Wet Wet along with chart topper Ella Henderson and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. If you need something a little bit more laid back, then head to the Blues Weekender in mid-September. The line up for a weekend of classic Blues tunes includes Al Hughes, Brian Rawson Band, Easy Does It and 3 Card Trick.

For some laid back blues head to the Vault Arts Centre in Newton Stewart in mid-September.

Moffat Walking Festival

Location: Moffat

The Moffat Walking Festival offers visitors the chance to head into the hills! From long-distance trails to easy ambles, family-friendly adventures and treks around town there is a diverse programme of guided walks. Will you choose a spooky walk guided by Mostly Ghostly, or opt for a birdwatching walk with local bird conservationist Dave Dick? Perhaps you want to tackle the Devil’s Beeftub or are ready for a serious hike to the stunning Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall? How about a sensory walk taking in Craigieburn House and Gardens? Whichever you choose you’ll not be disappointed, so grab your walking boots and head to Moffat!

Moffat, image courtesy ofVisitScotland / Paul Tomkins
Get out into the stunning landscapes around Moffat at its annual walking festival.

Cycling Events

Locations: Gatehouse of Fleet; Peebles

If you thought all the cycling was over, think again! Bridging the gap from August into September is the four-day gravel event that is Raiders Gravel. Taking in the dramatic scenery of the Galloway Forest Park and offering cycling afficiandos the ultimate in gravel racing. The base town of Gatehouse of Fleet will be buzzing with riders, supporters and spectators. Meanwhile the Tour O The Borders comes to Dumfries and Galloway for the first time in its tenth year. A new 120km route is expected to draw riders from across Britain and beyond as cyclists seek a new challenge.

Tour O Borders will head to Dumfries & Galloway for the first time in this its 10th year. Photo: Blair Kemp.

Kirkcudbright Fringe Festival

Location: Kirkcudbright

New for this year is the multi-faceted Kirkcudbright Fringe Festival with music, films, tours and trails all designed to inspire and entertain. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of the film The Wickerman there is a screening and discussion of the original as well as a preview of the documentary film Wickermania. In addition there are a variety of activities from a charity ceilidh, to comedy sessions and a more serious debate on the future of the UK and Scotland with broadcaster Gavin Esler.

Enjoy the variety of events at the inaugural Kirkcudbright Fringe Festival.