THE Braw Lads celebrations continued in style last night (Wednesday) as Ryan Mania and Nicola Mackay gear up for the biggest day of Galashiels’ festival.
The Braw Lad and Lass led the rideout to Torwoodlee to meet the laird of the estate, James Pringle, and receive a sod and stone to mark the marriage of James IV of Scotland and Margaret Tudor of England in 1503.
The cavalcade was welcomed back into the town by huge crowds and followed behind the fancy dress parade, with its usual colourful selection of primary schoolchildren, sports teams and other social groups, many gently poking fun at celebrities.
The Gathering’s first bike ride last Wednesday was deemed a success, with 237 riders, including Ryan and Nicola, meeting Melrosian Graeme Crawford and his followers.
Despite last weekend’s appalling weather, the Braw Lads Sports went ahead at Netherdale on Sunday, with five-a-side football and schoolchildren’s races among the activities held.
The sun arrived for Monday’s rideout to Lindean, but the heavy rainfall of the previous days meant the riders did not cross the River Tweed at Galafoot.
However, 131 horses still made their way to the ancient kirk to mark to historic close connection between the town and Lindean, and take part in a short ceremony.
The mounted followers made their way to Hollybush for the Lindean Chase, which saw Katie Scott claim the Principals’ Race for the third year in a row.
David Anderson, 2005 Braw Lad, took the Ex-Principals’ contest, while other winners were: pony – Abbie Robertson; ladies – Becky Johnston; older riders – Sylvia Scott; gents – Gary Beaumont.
Both the Braw Lad and Lass will receive their sashes during tomorrow’s investiture reception.
And when the town clock strikes 8am on Saturday, Ryan will be presented with the Burgh flag by Gathering president Andrew Johnson to mark the start of the Braw Lads Day ceremonial ride.