There was not a cloud in sight as Euan Munro galloped up Carter Bar roaring the immortal battle cry ‘Jethart’s here’ on Saturday.
The Jethart Callant led his cavalcade of 44, 11 of whom gained their Redeswire badges, south for the town festival’s longest ride to commemorate the last bloody encounter between Scotland and England in July 1575.
After the 25-year-old from Ancrum was greeted safe in by hundreds of townsfolk, it fell upon Lord Purvis of Tweed, the former Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale MSP Jeremy Purvis, to give an oration.
With the Edgerston countryside as his backdrop, he spoke of how, 444 years on from when Jedburgh answered the call of the Scots fighting where he stood, townsfolk once again returned in force to that same spot.
“We stand on ground consecrated by the blood of violence, but we commemorate times when dispute on this border in 1575 was settled by violence,” he said.
“We are not ashamed of that past – quite the reverse.
“The genius of the Borderer is the very fact that we continue to live for today in peace and harmony but we recognise our lives are shaped by our own past.
“It means that in this ever-changing world, the Borders, and what brings us together and makes our community strong, should be respected around the world.
“Ours is not a new community, nor is it an invented one. You could not as much change the characteristics of a Borderer as you could the landscape you see behind me.
“Centuries ago, in the unsettled time of the border disputes, your forebears could never have imagined the changes this world has seen, but I think they would be proud of the community that you represent as being stronger and as united as ever.”
Quoting the 1947 Southern Reporter coverage of the inaugural Jethart festival, he said it was vivid in its description of the resilience of Jedburgh and it’s folk.
“It said ‘how hastily did the Jethart folk sing ‘Jethart’s here’. What feeling they put into this rousing song. It was something that inspired.’
“And you will do it again today – lungs as bellows, hearts as engines of your emotions. That we heard when the callant cried ‘Jethart’s here’ today.”
Speaking afterwards, callant Euan said: “It was brilliant. It was just a blur until I got up there. I nearly missed the Redeswire stane. It’s a real hairs-on-the-back-of-your neck kind of moment.
“The support was great, as it has been from the people of Jedburgh all this week.”
Tomorrow, Euan, his right and left-hand men Nick Arnold and Brodie Irvine, plus herald Rob Reid, will lead the town in its main celebrations.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Euan added. “I’m getting nervous now, but I am sure it will all be fine. I can’t wait for it. It will be a brilliant day.”