The last Friday in July is almost upon us, and with it comes the biggest day in the muckle toon’s calender.
Langholm Common Riding’s main festivities take place next Friday, July 27 with this year’s Langholm Cornet Iain Little, a 24-year-old teacher, football coach and rugby referee, at the helm.
Iain and his right and left-hand men Stuart Murray and Simon Tweddle, will be supported by a mounted cavalcade and hundreds of foot followers and supporters come in their droves, as they do every year, to the muckle toon.
The celebrations begin at 5am when Langholm Flute Band makes its way around the town rousing supporters to join for the walk to Hillhead.
Just before 6.30am, the hounds will meet at Collins’ Turn, where supporters can watch them slipped for the trail.
The presentation of the trail cup follows at the town hall at 8.15am. The rideout begins at 8.30am, when riders musters in Market Place and Iain will receive the town’s standard.
The procession, led by the town band, heads by way of High Street to the Buccleuch Square Pump then back to Townfoot and the Market Place.
The first fair crying takes place there at 9am before the cornet leads his cavalcade in a gallop up the Kirk Wynd to Whita Yett and Castle Craigs. Here the Castle Craigs fair is cried and riders pass around the monument before heading down to Whita Well.
At 10.15am, the town band marches with the thistle and crown held high through the streets from Townfoot Gardens to Mount Hooley. Here the childrens’ heather besoms will be judged before the procession, joined now by Langholm Pipe Band, reforms and ventures to Townhead, on to Townfoot and back to the Market Place. Here, at 11am, the second fair crying takes place before the procession marches to Kiln Green. The children and their besoms travel across Ewes Bridge to receive their 20 pences at the Lodge gates.
At 11.55 the sod is cut on Kiln Green before the spade bearer, cornet and riders cross Ewes Water onto Castleholm to cut another sod.
This is followed by the cornet’s chase. Between 12.30pm and 4pm there’s horse racing on Castleholm.
The games, featuring wrestling and Highland dancing, begin at 1.30pm. Later in the evening, at 7.15pm the town band plays for dancing on the Castleholm.
At 8.45pm the procession reforms to the lodge gates and led by the cornet, returns to Market Place with halts made for polkas at the Kiln Green, Crown Hotel and Townfoot.
At Market Place, the cornet returns the standard before the day comes to a close with a verse of Auld Lang Syne and the National Anthem.