A Galashiels-based riverside arts project will be stepping out in style with a town walking festival this month as an exciting new partnership is formed.

Connecting Threads is delighted to announce a multi-part creative programme in collaboration with Galashiels Walking Festival, run by the town’s Hike & Bike Hub, from Friday, April 26 to Sunday, April 28.

This new partnership, ‘Town to River, River to Town’, embeds contemporary art into organised group walks through a programme of participatory events.

This is the first time that the two organisations have worked together and the first time that the walking festival has featured artists as part of its programme.

Hike & Bike Hub’s Galashiels Walking Festival also coincides with the beginning of ‘Trodden Paths’, a new artist residency initiated by Connecting Threads.

The selected artists in residence are multi-disciplinary duo Robbie Coleman and Jo Hodges, whose work takes many different forms in response to site, place or community.

Over nine weeks between April and September, Connecting Threads are supporting the artists to undertake creative research and practice in response to the footpaths leading out of Galashiels. They interested in not just where we walk but how.

‘Town to River, River to Town’ programme:

  • Friday, April 26: The Matt Seattle Band at Café ReCharge.

During lockdown, renowned Border piper Matt Seattle composed The Gala Water Suite, consisting of 14 original pieces inspired by locations mentioned in the earliest versions of the Braw, Braw Lads song, bookended by the Braw Lads melody and Soor Plums. For this first performance of the work in the Borders – appropriately in Galashiels – Matt will be joined by his five-piece band. The evening will include a hearty Café Recharge meal.

  • Saturday, April 27: Town to River, audiovisual public walk.

Experience Gala Water and the River Tweed like never before. Along the route will be a series of pop-up audio-visual art installations incorporating work made by local schools and community groups in collaboration with printmaker Georgie Fay and sound artist Balandino Di Donato. Beginning in Galashiels town centre, this walking event will involve a joyful, leisurely wander along

the Black Path, which runs alongside Gala Water, and down to the confluence with the Tweed at Galafoot.

  • Sunday, April 28: Town to River, glass map-making walk.

Artist Inge Panneels leads a group walk and glass map-making workshop to enrich participants’ relationships with the ecologies and histories that shape the river Tweed today. In the morning, the group will walk from the Hike & Bike Hub in Galashiels to the Tweed via Poets Corner and Galafoot, then back to town, collecting ideas, notes, images and objects along the way. Back in Galashiels, at Little Art Hub, Panneels will teach participants how to make their own glass maps using techniques such as etching and engraving. There will also be informed by historical map facsimiles of the Scottish Borders from the collections of the National Library of Scotland.

For more details about Connecting Threads go to: www.facebook.com/TweedRiverCulture/