DESPITE clashing with the 4,500 sell-out Proclaimers gig just around the corner, the Borders Book Festival has broken its own box office records.

During the four days, there were more than 34,000 visits to Harmony Gardens and the neighbouring Orchard Food Village.

Many of the Melrose marquees for the likes of sporting greats David Coulthard, Stephen Hendry, Gregor Townsend and Bob Champion were packed out.

And there was just as much demand for television celebrities such as Kate Humble, Alan Titchmarsh, Rory Bremner, Susan Calman and Michaela Strachan.

Neil Oliver, Natalie Haynes, Kate Williams and Andrew Kerr made sure history remained very much alive in Melrose.

And politics was never too far from anyone's lips with Ruth Davidson, Dominic Grieve and Fintan O'Toole on the line-up.

Although heavy rain threatened to dampen spirits on Thursday, it was a celebratory atmosphere throughout the four days.

And among the first to raise a glass to this year's success was festival director Alistair Moffat.

Alistair told us: "The 2019 Borders book festival broke all previous records with more than 34,000 visits to Harmony Garden and the Orchard Food Village over four sparkling days.

"I think the reason for such amazing numbers was not only the quality of the programme but its breadth.

"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.

"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.

"Between June 13 and 16, Melrose was the place to be.”

Many of the country's most-cherished authors, such as Christopher Brookmyre and Alexander McCall-Smith, discussed their work.

And younger readers were also enthralled with presentations from the likes of Cressida Cowell, MG Leonard, Viv French and Emily Dodd.

Experts in their field, such as war doctor David Nott and criminologist David Wilson, packed out marquees with their insights and wisdom.

And many familiar faces and voices from the media, like Ian Robertson, Kirsty Wark and James Naughtie, provided their own take on the world around them.

And the good news is that it's only 51 more weeks until next year's Borders Book Festival.