Good health as Cornet and Lass are installed

Peebles Cornet is Daniel Williamson'Cornets Lass - Susan Thomson
Peebles Cornet is Daniel Williamson'Cornets Lass - Susan Thomson

Health worker Daniel Williamson found the perfect prescription for happiness last night when he was installed as Peebles Cornet.

Also installed was Cornet’s Lass Susan Thomson, a fellow health worker at the Sick Children’s Hospital in Edinburgh.

Neidpath Castle

Neidpath Castle

The ceremony took place on a podium in front of the imposing Parish Church where 2012 Cornet Cameron Young returned – some might say reluctantly – the cherished burgh standard which had been in his custody for the past year.

Daniel and Susan were installed by Beltane chairman Ex-Cornet Alastair Dodds.

And it was a beaming Susan who displayed Daniel’s ribbons to a crowd of Gutterbluids and Stooriefits before bussin’ the standard with much majesty and style.

Looking on was Beltane Queen Rianna Sterricks, a primary seven pupil from Kingsland school, whose Red Letter day is on Saturday when she will be crowned by Theresa Hindhaugh on the steps of the Parish Church.

Warden of Neidpath  - James Moffat

Warden of Neidpath - James Moffat

But last night was about the Cornet’s Canter and the Riding of the Marches of the Royal Burgh.

Prince Charles and Camilla may have just paid a visit to the town – but this is Beltane week, this is a week for Cornet and Queen, for Wardens of the Cross Kirk and Neidpath, for Crowing Ladies and for proclamations of ancient fairs and rights. It is a week when Peebles opens its arms even wider than normal in invitation– come ower the hills tae Peebles.

That invitation was accepted by many last night as Peebles wrote yet another page into its illustrious history book.

And leading from the front were Cornet and Lass, Danial and Susan and their supporters .

With the flag fluttering, the marches were ridden. On the way there was the traditional stop at Neidpath Castle where the Cornet and his immediate entourage were welcomed by this year’s Warden of Neidpath James Moffat.

Standing at the castle doors high above the low-running Rover Tweed, he welcome one and all.

Neidpath was no stranger to James. For more than 30 years he has been a maintenance officer with Wemyss and March Estate – and his charges included this ancient keep.

In his address he talked of the many changes that have taken place in Peebles. Mr Moffat told the gathering: “It is good to see Renwick and Weir still going strong; sadly like mills of the town quite a few of the firms have closed. Grandison the joiners, Shortreed the plumber, Clyde the builder and Vannans the painter, to name but a few, but it is good to see Mitchells the painter and Renwick and Weir and Grandison the plasterer still going and willing to take on apprentices to pass down their skills.The high street has seen many changes since I was a boy. We shop online, bank online, pay bills online and we talk online. Sadly these are a sign of the times and the computer age.

“Do we see kids on the street playing? They are all too busy on the computer. I feel these days may be long gone.”

Mr Moffat spoke of his love of football and praised the army of volunteers who assisted, not only, with football, but many other activities. But he also urged more to come forward.

For Cornet and Lass it was time to rejoin the cavalcade. Tweed and Cuddy were forded and the chases took place on the edge of the golf course.

Later the reel was danced outside the Tontine Hotel. For many the night was yet young.