AFTER being trekked up and down the Eildons, a yellow kayak has become the first boat to reach the top of the hills, all for a local music festival.

The kayak was pushed up the Eildons on Saturday (August 27) by owner Bill Jeffrey, his children and members of the community in aid of GalaFest – a free music festival created by Bill open to everyone.

And come festival weekend (September 10-11) the kayak will have pride of place at the event.

“It was an amazing, amazing thing,” said Bill of the hillwalk with a twist.

“We’d planned to do it in five to six hours but we managed it in four hours and 45 minutes, Melrose to Melrose.

“It was just an amazing day.”

Thanks to fundraising by Bill and members of the community that have offered their support, almost £5,000 has been raised for Galafest.

At the time of publication, Bill had raised £4,210.

Bill said: “I’m over the moon.

“Over the last few weeks it’s been an emotional rollercoaster.

“There was a young mum who came up to me in Tesco and said, ‘Thank you’.

“Then two children and their grandparents came up to me to donate their pocket money.”

Peeblesshire News: The kayak on its journey up the Eildons. Photo: Bill JeffreyThe kayak on its journey up the Eildons. Photo: Bill Jeffrey

Although a full list of acts is still being finalised, Sandi Thom (I Wish I Was A Punkrocker) has been announced as the Saturday headliner.

Bill added: “I’m quite excited now.

“It’s like a big jigsaw and the picture is nearly complete.”

GalaFest will be completely free to attend.

Making the event accessible to everyone is something which is very important to Bill.

He said: “Come October things will be worse [financially].

“So, people need an escape and something fun to do for free.”

Bill added: “Hopefully it lives up to people’s expectations.”

GalaFest will be held on Saturday, September 10, 1-10pm, and Sunday, September 11, 1-7pm, at Galashiels public park (next to the fire station).

The festival will feature live entertainment from local bands, as well as those from further afield, a silent disco, and there will also be refreshments available to purchase, but guests are also encouraged to bring a picnic.

For more information on GalaFest, visit the festival’s Facebook page.