All roads lead to Mosspaul for Ali

Hawick Cornet Ali George arrives at Mosspaul.
Hawick Cornet Ali George arrives at Mosspaul.
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Hawick Cornet Ali George and his followers were met with four seasons in one day on their visits to Mosspaul this week.

But as ever, the changeable weather failed to deter supporters with around 180 riders on Saturday and a further 70 on Tuesday, making the journey to the historic site.

The Hawick Scout Pipe Band lead the cavalcade into Mosspaul.

The Hawick Scout Pipe Band lead the cavalcade into Mosspaul.

With hundreds cheering the cavalcade along at various points along the route, Cornet Ali says he’s delighted with the continued support.

“It was a great day out. Thankfully we didn’t really get that wet as it mainly rained when we were there so we ducked inside,” he said.

“It was good to meet all the visiting principals and they all get on well which is great.”
As a sign of things to come, Ali also got his first taste of following behind the town bands as the cavalcade were met at Mosspaul by the Hawick Scout Pipe Band and led back into town by the Saxhorn Band.

“That was an unreal feeling,” Ali added.

Cornet's groom Sally Niven with left-hand man Gregor Hepburn.

Cornet's groom Sally Niven with left-hand man Gregor Hepburn.

It’s been a whirlwind five weeks for Ali - but the 24-year-old greenkeeper says he has loved every second of it.

He now has just one rideout left to lead before the start of the main common riding events next week. He said: “I can’t believe it’s my last one already but I’m looking forward to it. Denholm is always a good ride and a great warm up for everyone for the big week ahead. Come this time next week it will nearly all be finished.”

Tonight will see Ali and Acting Father Ronnie Frost lead the first chase to St Leonards where Ronnie will receive his badge of office.

Saturday’s rideout to Denholm leaves Backdamgate at 12.30pm and arrives at the green at 4pm. The cavalcade leaves again at 6pm with the Cornet and his henchmen making an added visit to Hornshole. The horses arrive back at Towerknowe at 8pm.

Alex Mundell, Brodie Irvine and Gary Hogg arriving at Mosspaul ahead of the thunder and lightning.

Alex Mundell, Brodie Irvine and Gary Hogg arriving at Mosspaul ahead of the thunder and lightning.

Next week sees the run up to the main Common Riding events. On Sunday the Kirking takes place at 11am in St Mary’s Church and is followed by the wreath laying ceremony at the Hornshole Memorial at 3pm.

The early morning chases on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday all leave Backdamgate at 6.30am to head to St Leonards where they arrive at 7.30am.

Common Riding Thursday kicks off at 6am from Backdamgate with a ride to St Leonards, the racecourse, Crumhaughhill and back to the town hall. This is followed by the Cornet’s school visits, and the evening ceremonies including the colour bussing, proclamation from the Burgh Cross and the Cornet’s walk.

Friday’s events again begin at 6am from Kirk Wynd and conclude with the Common Riding dinner and the ball that evening. On Saturday the principals visit the Mote at sunrise before leaving Backdamgate at 9.30am. The day ends with the returning of the flag at the Town Hall at 3.50pm.

Cornet's Lass, Katy Moffat with her sisters, Connie and Daisy.

Cornet's Lass, Katy Moffat with her sisters, Connie and Daisy.

Full details are available in the Hawick Common Riding timetable.

Lawrence Marshall, Greg Easton and Michael Robertson head out of Hawick for Mosspaul.

Lawrence Marshall, Greg Easton and Michael Robertson head out of Hawick for Mosspaul.

Ryan Robertson negotiating the Howegate en route to Mosspaul.

Ryan Robertson negotiating the Howegate en route to Mosspaul.

Sophie and Chloe Bell watched the horses leave for the rideout.

Sophie and Chloe Bell watched the horses leave for the rideout.

Robert Roarison  in control of the A7 helping Christine McKean across the road.

Robert Roarison in control of the A7 helping Christine McKean across the road.