South Scotland

Borders Book Festival breaks visitor records

Rory Bremner and Philippa Perry Image copyright Alex Hewitt
Image caption Record figures were achieved despite a weather warning for heavy rain on day one

A new record for visitor numbers was set at the Borders Book Festival over the weekend.

There were almost 34,000 visits to the event in Melrose - up 18% on last year - with numerous sell-out talks.

Festival director Alistair Moffat said the reason for the "amazing numbers" was "not only the quality of the programme but its breadth".

The record figures were achieved despite a weather warning for heavy rain on the event's opening day.

Image copyright Alex Hewitt
Image caption Visitor numbers were up by 18% on last year

"From sell-out sessions with sportsmen like David Coulthard and Gregor Townsend to natural history photographer Gordon Buchanan, TV gardener and novelist Alan Titchmarsh, comedian Susan Calman and politician Ruth Davidson, there was something for almost every taste," said Mr Moffat.

"Not only does the book festival have a huge beneficial impact on the local economy, it is now the biggest cultural event of the year between Edinburgh and Newcastle and it attracts visitors from all over Britain and from abroad."

Image copyright Alex Hewitt
Image caption Former Formula One driver David Coulthard was among the big names at this year's event

As well as the book events, the festival also saw the award of the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction.

This year it went to Scottish poet Robin Robertson.

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