Hawick Common Riding: Rideouts draw strong support despite weather

Freddie Bell leads this group at Acreknowe.
Freddie Bell leads this group at Acreknowe.

Hawick cornet Connor Brunton experienced mixed weather but unwavering support as he led the traditional rideouts to Roberton and Priesthaugh this week.

Steady rain failed to dampen the spirits of 140 riders who completed the 20-mile route to Roberton on Saturday, with hardy picnic-goers flocking to the village, and dozens of drenched supporters in town to wave the cavalcade off and welcome them back home.

“There was constant drizzle all day, but I still really enjoyed it,” Connor told us.

To see our pictures from Roberton click here.

To see our pictures from Priesthaugh click here.

“There were around 140 riders. There’s normally a little bit more than that so the weather played a part, but it was a good following, and the support on foot was still just as good.

“It was great to see everyone there when we arrived at Roberton, and there were a lot of folk in the town when we got back, too. I had some family there from Langholm that had come to see us come in so that was nice.”

A brighter afternoon on Tuesday made for a pleasant ride to Priesthaugh, with a 90-strong cavalcade following Connor from Backdamgate via the Loan to Willistruther, Acreknowe to Penchrise, arriving at Priesthaugh around 6pm.

“We had one shower just before the first field, but apart from that it was fine,” Connor said. “It was another good Tuesday with a big turnout which was great to see.”

The principal’s thoughts have now turned to tomorrow’s rideout to Mosspaul, traditionally the main rideout in the run up to Common Riding weekend.

“I can’t wait,” Connor admitted.

“I’ll get to meet all the other principals from the other Borders towns on Saturday too, because they all come to Mosspaul, so I’m looking forward to that.”

The 27-mile ride will leave Backdamgate at noon, with the cavalcade due to arrive at Mosspaul around 3pm.

On the return from Mosspaul the Saxhorn Band will meet the riders at the Volunteer Park and play in front of the cavalcade to the Tower Knowe.

The first ride to Mosspaul took place in 1901 when cornet James Sutherland led the cavalcade, and riders who successfully complete this difficult ride are be eligible to become members of the Ancient Mosstroopers.

Connor got his mosstroopers badge the first year he rode, when he followed cornet Jamie Turnbull in 2005.

“To be leading it 14 years later is surreal,” he said. “It’s one of the biggest Saturdays of the Common Riding so I’m really looking forward to it.”