The Beltane has come and gone – but the memories will forever be etched in the minds of Queen Rianna Sterricks and Cornet Daniel Williamson.
They have enjoyed the time of their lives, while at the same time ensuring that once again it was indeed, Peebles for Pleasure.
They smiled, they laughed, they waved and they cheered and even when a horrendous downpour drenched Saturday’s Beating of the Retreat – they still laughed and the cornet danced. And if Peebles was rightly proud of its principals, they, too, were equally proud of the people.
Rianna, a 12-year-old pupil at Kingsland Primary School, told The Southern: “There was such a good turnout of people and it was great to hear them all cheering and see them waving. It was all very exciting and Saturday was phenomenal.
“The weather was really good until the Saturday night when they were Beating the Retreat, but there was a big crowd and the bands were great. It has been a memorable week.”
That memorable week began on the Sunday with the installation of the Reverend Malcolm Jefferson of St Andrews Leckie linked with Lyne and Manor, as Warden of Neidpath.
Wednesday belonged to Cornet Daniel Williamson and Cornet’s Lass Susan Thomson who were installed by Beltane and Marching Riding committee chairman, the 1979 Cornet Alastair Dodds. Supporting them were predecessors Cameron Young and Rae Brown and Cameron’s brother Ewen and his Lass Laura Cox.
Susan bussed the Burgh Standard before it was carried round the marches with a stop being made at the ancient castle of Neidpath where this year’s Warden James Moffat gave the warden’s address.
Tweed and Cuddy were forded while on the edge of the golf course the chases were held for a variety of trophies. This was the centenary of the Beltane Bell race. The trophy was retained by local rider Ross Wilson.
Back on the High Street the traditional reel was danced and Cornet Williamson commented: “What I have experienced tonight is the best night of my life.”
And after Saturday he told The Southern: “The crowds were fabulous, they have been huge all week, The weather was great until the last half hour [Beating Retreat]. The Queen and the children deserved that great weather. I have spoken this week about what makes it so great for the children. Every child from primary one to seven has been singing the Beltane Song with pride and passion.”
And he revealed: “I tried to ride the Beltane last year and failed so if it wasn’t for my Lass and the Kailzie equestrian centre, none of this would have been possible for me.”
There was pleasant surprise for Queen Rianna as she sat Crowned in front of the Parish Church. Three generations of the Sterrick family have pedalled the Beltane Penny Farthing at the festival fancy dress and Saturday parade. Her uncle Jim has done it for a number of years. But it has never been cycled in tribute to a Queen as she sat on her throne – until Saturday. Closely behind the Cornet and his party came Jim on his bike.
Rianna told us: “It was a complete surprise and added to all the excitement. It was great.”
Saturday night’s Retreat featured Peebles Silver band and the pipes and drums of the Royal Guard of Oman. This was when the rain fell – and the Cornet danced.
He told us: “It wasn’t planned, but the crowd were fantastic, staying throughout despite the rain.”
And the Cornet, who is in charge of the Peebles Silver Development band, took the baton for Baggy Trousers by Madness.