Neighbouring Scottish Borders towns, Selkirk and Hawick are both widely known for their presence in the textile industry and history. Many buildings, some now empty, show how prominent the textiles industry was in the borders and how it established these towns as important hubs of enterprise.

The Border Weavers

Selkirk is best known for its shoe-making industry[1]. The townspeople are known as souters which means cobbler. Sir Walter Scott was Sheriff at the local courtroom in Selkirk from 1799 till his death in 1832[1]. The courtroom is now a museum.

What an old cobbler's shop might've looked like
Shoe-making was the main industry in Selkirk before the boom of the Industrial Revolution.

The name Selkirk is believed to originate auld Scottish from the words ‘shiel’ and ‘kirk’ meaning ‘the church in the forest’[2]. The town is surrounded by the Ettrick Forest and Ettrick Water. It was an important place for the Scottish kings during the Middle Ages, and unfortunately, suffered grievously after the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513. The town was granted royal status in the 12th century[2].

Like other border towns, Selkirk celebrates a Common Riding, which is believed to have originated after the Battle of Flodden when only 1 of the 80 nobles who rode out to battle, came back[2].

Like Selkirk, Hawick is well known for its textiles industry and has been home to famous brands including Pringles and Lyle & Scott and is also associated with designer brands including Dior and Vivienne Westwood. Hawick is part of Scotland’s Textile Trail, a trek through the history and importance of this industry within the borders. Selkirk is most famous for its tartan and Hawick for its cashmere.

Cashmere knitted cardigan
Hawick is best known for its cashmere wear.

Borders Food & Drink

These 2 towns are making a name for themselves in the food & drink industry as they look to the future and see the demand for authentic Scottish food and drink products. Selkirk is most famous for its Selkirk Bannock, a rich, fruit bread bun. Hawick, on the other hand, has turned its skills to distilling and in the next few years, the town will have produced its first malt whisky for centuries.

Blended whisky made in Scottish Borders
One of the blended whiskies by The Borders Distillery in Hawick.

Producers from Selkirk & Hawick

Three Hills Coffee

Three Hills Coffee is based in Selkirk and is the Scottish Borders only coffee roastery. Last year was a productive year seeing renovation work completed for a coffee shop. The cafe is well-known for its expert baristas who can create beautiful looking, and tasting, coffees.

Three Hills Coffee also stock local produce including bakes from Katy Cloud Bakery, Thomas & Ethel Bakery and also Bite Me Cakes & Treats.

Whole roasted coffee beans spilling from cup.
Bring beans home from Three Hills Coffee in Selkirk.

Bite Me Cakes & Treats

Bite Me Cakes & Treats is based in Hawick. The cakery also supplies local cafes 13 Brew and At The Riversedge in Hawick and Three Hills Coffee shop in Selkirk. The business began in 2017 and has become more popular as time has gone by. Bethany, who runs Bite Me Cakes & Treats, can cater for many dietary needs including gluten and dairy intolerances.

Available to order are cupcakes, celebration cakes and traybakes which are perfect for any occasions. You can order direct through Facebook or find Bite Me at impromptu pop-up shops in Hawick.

Cupcake bouquets
Cupcake bouquets by Bite Me Cakes and Treats

Going Native Heritage Meats

Located in the centre of Hawick, Going Native butchers supply the town and surrounding area with meats traditionally reared in the area. These include Galloway and Blue Grey cattle and Cheviot sheep.

The process from farm to fork is simple, going through just the farmer, the butcher before being available to you the customer. The animals are fed a grass-based diet and are reared in a traditionally slow-growing way to allow the full flavour to develop.

There are a variety of meat products available from Going Native including pies, haggis, sausages and various meat cuts.

You can visit the shop in Hawick or find Going Native at Kelso Farmer’s Market on the 4th Saturday of the month.

Meat with herbs
Discover juicy, tasty meat from Going Native Heritage Meats.

The Borders Distillery

The Borders Distillery is the first distillery in the region for over 150 years! Situated in the centre of Hawick, the distillery is history in the making. Not only is the distillery in the process of creating its first batches of malt whisky, which won’t be ready for a few years yet, they have also created 2 blended whiskies, their own small-batch vodka and gin, inspired by a local botanist, William Kerr.

The Borders Distillery offers an insightful tour into the workings of a distillery, as well as the history of Hawick and how it is the perfect spot in the Scottish Borders for a distillery to be. It is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.

Stills inside the distillery
Custom-made stills in The Borders Distillery.

Savour the Flavour

Savour the Flavour began with a passion for food quality and to develop a better understanding of nutrition and food awareness. The initiative started back in 2012 and is run by Gill Evans, and now mainly offers various breadmaking classes. The classes range from a beginners course to sourdough techniques and also learning to bake seasonal favourites at Easter and Christmas.

Based mostly in Bedrule village, which is not too far from Hawick, you can also find Savour the Flavour sometimes at local events in Bedrule and farmers markets including Selkirk‘s.

The next class, Baking for Beginners, is on Sunday 16th of June from 1 pm – 5 pm and costs just £50 which includes the cost of materials.

Artisan loaves
Learn to make your own bread with Gill.

Love What You Eat

Enjoy these producers, plus many more, around Selkirk and Hawick. These towns, although famous for its textiles history, are becoming well-known for their food and drink enterprises.

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References
  1. Selkirk
  2. Visit Southern Scotland: Selkirk