Torwoodlee and fancy dress avoid the rain for great Gala night
A cavalcade of 157 headed out to Torwoodlee for the traditional ceremony when the Braw Lad and Lass meet James Pringle, the laird of the estate.
Ryan Mania and Nicola Mackay also took part in a ceremony with the laird which sees them receive a sod and stone from the 17th-century Torwoodlee Tower to mark the 1503 marriage of James IV of Scotland and Margaret Tudor of England.
Both the sod and stone are used in the moving Old Town Cross ceremony during Saturday’s Braw Lads’ Day, which also remembers the marriage of the Thistle and the Rose.
In his speech welcoming the Braw Lads’ party to Torwoodlee, James Pringle discussed his estate’s Halkburn Wood, which was named as one of only 60 in the UK to receive Diamond Jubilee Woodland status this year. It has led to an open day on September 27 for 150 local primary school children, who will take part in tree planting and learn what species live there.
And the laird hopes the project will inspire young Galaleans into a future career in forestry or farming with the chance they could be maintaining the town’s surrounding natural landscape.
He added: “A large part of my job as estate owner, land manager, farmer, forester and all the rest, is to try to enhance and sustain the native woods and the flora and fauna of our Borderland, not only to make the place a magnet for tourists but also to keep some of the magic that nurtures us as locals when we see the ever-changing landscapes around us and we walk alongside nature’s beauty.
“I hope also that some of the children will come back over the years to watch the woodland grow and mature and to enjoy the fruits of their labour as children.
“I would like to think that some of them might have represented Galashiels along the way because it is these special people who make Gala what it is and what it can be, people like Ryan and Nicola.”
Ryan and Nicola led the riders back into the town behind the entertaining fancy dress, which this year poked fun at the long running inner relief roadworks project in Galashiels, as well as the Borders Railway.
A newly formed Borders Olympics squad were also represented, as were plenty schools and nursery groups.
And the prospective Braw Lad and Lass for 2032 – 16-month-old Joshua Kerr and 14-month-old Ruby McDowall – were surely the cutest competitors, claiming the prams title.
Fancy dress winners:
Uniform Groups – Gala Zoo; Pre-school group – 345 Playgroup; Floats – Waverley Line; Adult and child – Gala Zoo; Prams – Braw Lad and Lass 2032; Junior Pairs – Owl and the Pussy Cat; Children three and under – Gala’s Little Red Riding Hood; Children four to six – Ladybird; Children seven to 10 – Adsolutley Plastered; Children 11 to 15 – Wenlock; Adult single – Shaun the Sheep; Junior groups – Olympics; Family groups – Gala Under Construction; Senior group – Gala’s Rushin Grannies; Best in parade – 345 Playgroup.
See p34 for pictures