Discover a new way to experience the Scottish Borders with The Reivers Road! The innovative app uses cutting-edge technology to deliver a virtual tour guide: GPS-triggered commentary with stories, history, drama and music. The first of six self-drive audio trails of the Borders has just been launched, encouraging visitors to delve into the stories of the southern Borders.
Ancient stories, told in a new way
Each trail is a journey through dramatic scenery led by a historic guide. The old ballad ‘Jamie Telfer of the Fair Dodheid’ weaves through the commentary of the Hermitage Trail – from Hawick to Langholm via Hermitage Castle. Verses from the ballad are intertwined with Jamie himself narrating; first bereft and angry at the theft of his cattle, then exultant when the ‘hot trod’ catches up with the thieves, giving glimpses into the rhythm of the seasons for a small farmer in the 16th century. Soon to be released is the Ettrick Trail, with historic guide ‘Will o’ Phaup’, shepherd, storyteller, and grandfather of famous poet James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd. Afterwards follows by the Flodden Trail; the guides here are a young bowman from the English army and Sir Andrew Kerr, laird of Cessford Castle.
Unique culture, shared by locals
Behind the Reivers Road are Borders locals Debi Webster and Alastair Cunningham. After working in the Scottish tourism industry for 20 years, they wanted to share the Scottish Borders incredible hidden gems and stories with visitors. After all, there’s just as much – if not more – to discover here as in the far north. Each audio trail showcases a different area, whilst celebrating the unique culture, of the whole region. Reiving stories, traditional ballads, local history, myths, legends and the extraordinary Common Ridings. Even those born and bred in the area are embarking on the trails to connect with their history and learn something new!
Working together across the Borders
The Reivers Road app gives visitors to South Scotland something to do on a rainy day (and with no danger of breaking social distancing rules). No matter the season, those embarking on the trails will find places steeped in rich history and atmospheric landscapes. Many businesses and accommodation providers are already on board and excited about sharing The Reivers Road with guests. Everyone buying the trail gets a free ‘Reivers Pass’ with discounts from businesses across the Borders – a great reason to stay longer and explore even further.
A great tour guide – plus a bit
A great tour guide can tell you the story behind anything that may catch your eye, taking you off the main routes and into the byways of the Borders. Just as The Reivers Road does. But even a great tour guide will struggle to remember all the verses of a ballad, to give a decent rendering of a traditional local song, or to capture the drama of a moment in history. And this is the advantage of an audio trail! Carefully arranged music, poetry, drama and stories are all there, interpreting what is outside the window, varying the pace and mood like a good documentary. Even better, it costs just a fraction of a tour guide’s daily rate.
The next stage – fun for kids
The Reivers Road is suitable for all ages, and many families will be excited to explore the stories of the Scottish Borders together. Still, kids (and the kid in all of us) may enjoy delving in beyond the commentary. So, the next step for The Reivers Road is to introduce an element of fun! Soon, augmented reality elements and a ‘Pokemon Go’ type of game will join the audio trails. Activities along the route will range from ‘catch’ a sheep to ‘shoot’ an arrow through a castle window and more. You’ll even have a chance to see what the Borders castles – and their inhabitants – looked like in their heyday. Why not make a challenge of it for competitive family members?