Present, past and future as politics come into play at Torwoodlee

A cavalcade of 148 horses and riders headed out to Torwoodlee last Wednesday evening for the traditional ceremony when the Braw Lad and Lass met James Pringle, the laird of the estate.

In the annual ceremony, Gavin Young and Alice Mackay 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.

Part of the ceremony during the Torwoodlee rideout.

Part of the ceremony during the Torwoodlee rideout.

Both were used in Saturday’s moving ceremony at the Old Town Cross during the Braw Lads’ Gathering, which also remembers the marriage of the Thistle and the Rose.

In his speech welcoming the Braw Lads’ party to Torwoodlee, James Pringle shared the news with the gathered crowd that the Clan Pringle Association had applied for funding from the Fallago Environment Fund and one from Historic Scotland to help with the consolidation of Torwoodlee Tower.

He added: “I am hopeful that we will be able to start in the spring of 2015 to ensure this lovely tower is still here for many, many Braw Lads’ visits into the future.”

He continued: “But before that, 2014 may also be the start of Scotland’s journey towards separation from the rest of the United Kingdom.

Part of the ceremony through Galashiels during the Torwoodlee rideout. Fancy dress. borders Railway train guard.

Part of the ceremony through Galashiels during the Torwoodlee rideout. Fancy dress. borders Railway train guard.

“Braw Lads’ is not normally a time for politicking, but I think it too important a subject to miss the opportunity to add my thoughts to the debate.

“Indeed, on Saturday, we’ll be commemorating the marriage of the Thistle and the Rose in 1503 which, almost inevitably, led to the marriage of the Crowns in 1603 and the Union of the Parliaments in 1707 – a union which has served us in Scotland very well for 300 years.

“Even then, it was recognised that we’d be Better Together and it’s a shame that we have to debate the issue all over again before, hopefully, seeing the sense in staying married.”

Following the gathering at Torwoodlee, Gavin and Alice led the riders back into the town behind the entertaining fancy dress procession.

Part of the ceremony through Galashiels during the Torwoodlee rideout. Fancy dress.

Part of the ceremony through Galashiels during the Torwoodlee rideout. Fancy dress.

Fancy dress results opposite.

Torwoodlee rideout on Thursday night. Ride through Galashiels Bank Street.

Torwoodlee rideout on Thursday night. Ride through Galashiels Bank Street.