Pitch fever arrives with cup appeal
Published: 16 Jul 2012 09:30
THE countdown has started for this week's Cultural Olympiad event in the central Borders with a search for an ancient football cup.
Two football matches will take place on Saturday in the middle of a forest outside Selkirk.
The £500,000 project has come in for criticism as well as support.
But organisers are confident the games will attract a great deal of support.
And they are hoping an ancient trophy from another football game that took place near Selkirk almost 200 years ago will give the event even stronger local links.
Carterhaugh ba' took place in 1815 and saw teams drawn from the estates of Duke Charles of Buccleuch take on the men of Selkirk, Hawick and Gala in a contest involving hundreds of players and very few rules.
Sir Walter Scott, responsible perhaps more than any other figure in the arts for raising the issue of Scottish cultural identity, was involved in designing a commemorative 'cup' or plate and was present on the day.
Forest Pitch will see some 60 players, many of them people new to Scotland, take part in football matches on a woodland pitch on the Buccleuch Estates.
Craig Coulthard, the artist behind Forest Pitch, said: "Sir Walter Scott had an immense influence on Scotland's sense of cultural identity and on how the nation was perceived by the wider world.
"These issues are just as important today at a time when Scotland is debating its future, and at a point when its population has become so incredibly diverse.
"There are some fascinating parallels, and differences, between the Carterhaugh ba' and what we are doing today. Both displayed a passion for amateur sport and both tell us a great deal about the values and ideas of the times in which they took place.
"Something that particularly interested me is that the Scottish Football Museum told me that Sir Walter Scott was involved in commissioning a commemorative cup or plate, but have no idea whether it still exists - if it does I would love to see something which takes us so far back in the game's history."
The idea for the Carterhaugh ba' originated at a dinner held by Duke Charles at Bowhill House. He and his brother in law, the Earl of Home, would captain a team of shepherds, farmers and other tenants.
On 4 December they faced an opposition made up of a large body of men who had marched 12 miles from Hawick to join up with teammates from Selkirk and Gala. All enjoyed a dram before play started.
Curator of the Scottish Football Museum, Richard McBrearty, has spent many years researching the early history of the game.
He said: "The Carterhaugh ba' was a very important game and very much a part of Sir Walter Scott's drive to assert a strong and positive identity for Scotland. Football was a game with a tradition stretching back hundreds of years in the Borders, and he wanted to tie in with that.
"There is a letter that shows Sir Walter was closely involved in the design and commissioning of a cup or plate which was to be awarded by the Duke to the opposing team. It describes how they had tried various different designs.
"I would love to know if someone still has it - so far I have not been able to find out, but if anyone knows we would love to know where it is. If so, it must be about the oldest commemorative award in Scottish football."
Get more stories from our Roundup section
8 Mar 2014 07:00
SCOTTISH Borders Council’s Head of Engineering and Infrastructure has been commended for his dedication to the Borders during a 37-year career with the local authority.
8 Mar 2014 06:30 • David Knox
DRIVING instructor dad, Alan Mcdonald, admits he lost his voice after shouting daughter Rachael onto her first national hunt victory on home soil.
7 Mar 2014 12:30
RESIDENTS in the Borders are to benefit from hundreds of new affordable homes through the further expansion of the award-winning National Housing Trust initiative (NHT).
7 Mar 2014 09:00
A BORDERS couple who both lost a leg in a horror car crash will take brave steps in a bid to raise cash for the hospital that helped them.
7 Mar 2014 07:00
YOUTHBORDERS, the Borders Local Youth Work Association has been shortlisted for the National Youth Worker of the Year Awards 2014.
6 Mar 2014 11:30 • David Knox
SELKIRK duo Rowan Marr and Zaynah Aziz both collected medals at the Scottish 3000 metre championships in Glasgow.
6 Mar 2014 09:00
THE winners of the 2014 Borders Sport & Leisure Celebration of Sport Awards were revealed at a celebratory dinner and ceremony held at the MacDonald Cardronna hotel on Friday.
6 Mar 2014 07:30
NINE people took part in a Gala Waterways Group workparty to clear vegetation and rubbish from stretches of the Mill Lade near the McDonalds Restaurant in Galashiels.
6 Mar 2014 07:00
LAST week’s Fairtrade Pop-up Shop in Selkirk went like a ball.
5 Mar 2014 09:00
POLICE are continuing their search for a Selkirk man who has been missing since January.
5 Mar 2014 08:30
A NEW housing scheme to support older people living independently has been launched in Galashiels.
4 Mar 2014 16:50
THE traffic warden service in the Borders has been given a temporary stay of execution by the police who, the Border Telegraph can reveal, are facing legal action over their controversial, cost-cutting decision to axe the service.
4 Mar 2014 16:45
ANOTHER man has been charged with a housebreaking offence in the Scottish Borders, with over 40 people now arrested as part of Operation RAC.
4 Mar 2014 12:50
FURTHER disruption is ahead for drivers in Galashiels as part of on-going roadworks.
4 Mar 2014 09:00
A MAJOR cultural link between Russia and Scotland is being forged in Earlston.
4 Mar 2014 08:30
TRAIN bosses have this week unveiled both the timetable and the fares for the returning Borders Railway.
4 Mar 2014 08:00
SCOTTISH Borders Council has outstanding debts of £193.1 million – equating to £1,698 per head of the region’s population.
4 Mar 2014 08:00
LIBRARIES, museums, public halls and community centres in the Borders are set to go the way of swimming baths next year when they are transferred to a charitable trust.
4 Mar 2014 07:30
TWO elderly walkers were rescued late at night by a helicopter after being stranded on a hillside near the Scotland-England border.
3 Mar 2014 08:30
A SELKIRK care home has until the end of the month to meet a long list of improvements or face further action from the Government watchdog.