The South Marches ridden for first time in 28 years

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A total of 171 riders took part in a once-in-a-lifetime event when they rode the South Marches as part of this month’s Flodden 500th anniversary events.

Rider applications were restricted to 200 for Sunday’s event, with the mounted cavalcade following Royal Burgh Standard Bearer Martin 
Rodgerson round the South Marches.

Jake Wheelans laid a Wreath in the Memorial Garden

Jake Wheelans laid a Wreath in the Memorial Garden

Originally, these were part of the town boundaries and were ridden and inspected yearly.

However, the land involved is now owned by private landowners and has rarely been ridden over the last 50 years, with the last time being 1985, on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of Selkirk’s charter.

There was only a small number of mishaps among the riders, the most serious being the broken pelvis suffered near the start of the ride by Graham Bell.

Otherwise, Provost David Anderson said that although the weather was pretty bad, the event still went well.

Arriving at Lillisleaf via the Wynd

Arriving at Lillisleaf via the Wynd

He told us: “In the end, 171 riders took part with a few dropping out of the 200 that had been registered and it was probably due to the really miserable weather early on.

“But despite that, those who did take part really enjoyed the ride, and huge thanks are due to those who organised the event, particularly Gordon Hislop who put in a lot of work to make sure the event happened.

“We’re also very grateful to all the landowners who gave permission for their land to be used. Also the people of Midlem and Lilliesleaf who turned out to greet us, and the people of Selkirk for their support.”

The ride started at 8am when the Standard Bearer received the Burgh Flag at the Town Hall.

Band and Crafts flag form up

Band and Crafts flag form up

The cavalcade then went up the High Street, via Dovecote to the television mast at Half Crown Corner, before heading in the direction of St Boswells.

The riders crossed the road before the Bowden crossroads and made their way to Midlem, followed by Lilliesleaf, before heading to The Rig and then home for the dipping of the flag at the Fletcher memorial.

Mr Anderson said the event started early so as not to clash with riders of a different sort – those taking part in a stage of the Tour of Britain bike race.

“We had plenty of time for the ride and there were no problems on that front. And the council sweeper came along and made sure Sir Bradley Wiggins and company didn’t find themselves running into piles of you know what!”

Youngsters in period costume

Youngsters in period costume

Burgh officers chat to SB Rodgerson before ride in town hall

Burgh officers chat to SB Rodgerson before ride in town hall

The Burgh flag dipped at Fletcher

The Burgh flag dipped at Fletcher

Prosession down Dovecot

Prosession down Dovecot

RBSB Martin Rodgerson

RBSB Martin Rodgerson

SB Rodgerson leads the 220 strong  from cavalcade the town

SB Rodgerson leads the 220 strong from cavalcade the town

SB Rodgerson hands back the Flag

SB Rodgerson hands back the Flag