Robert Burns would be disappointed by the violence that still exists in the world, but would be pleased by the example set by Jedburgh’s citizens.
So said this year’s Redeswire speaker, Jane Brown, immediate past president of the Robert Burns World Federation, when she addressed the large crowd which made the misty trek on Saturday, on horseback and car, to the Carter Bar for the traditional mounted gathering which forms part of the Jethart Callant’s Festival.
A total of 87 riders, with 28 of those being first timers gaining their coveted Redeswire badges, followed Jethart Callant Grant Raeburn to the Redeswire stane.
The ‘Raid of the Redeswire’ was a skirmish between England and Scotland that took place on July 7, 1575, and is often cited as the last battle between the two nations.
“Everyone here today are just ordinary people, celebrating this great historic gathering” the guest speaker told the gathering.
“Your wonderful town, Jedburgh, has always had precious freedoms and was the first to honour Burns with the freedom of your burgh.
“In doing so, expressing his spirit and philosophy by combining pride in local tradition with wider friendliness and love of humanity.”
She went on to say the 16th century forefathers of those assembled at Redeswire had to eke out a meagre existence from an inhospitable country more beautiful than bountiful.
“A people that down through the turbulent years would be the first line of defence against the ‘Auld Enemy’,” she added, saying she felt extremely proud to have been invited to salute the heroes of Redeswire.
And she went on to say that there was no longer a bloody frontier between Scotland and England: “We are setting an example to the rest of the world in these troubled times in how to live together in peace, making an advance towards fulfilment of the dream of the immortal Robert Burns.
“I think he would have been very disappointed in Mankind today, with all the atrocities happening around the world, but today I wish all success to the Callant, continued success to Jedburgh in holding up this historic tradition – you should be very proud of yourselves.”
l Tomorrow (Friday) sees the Jethart Callant’s Festival main day, with horses and riders assembling in the town’s Back Bongate at 8.30am. There will be a full colour special round-up of this year’s festival in next week’s issue of The Southern Reporter.