Fair Cryer Rae Elliot addresses the packed crowd at Langholm. All photos: Bill McBurnie.

Ruairi would have been there anyway

Langholm Cornet Ruairi Hotson said he couldn’t pick out a highlight from the weekend’s Common Riding, as the whole thing was just “Summat else”.

The keen horse rider, who has been following his hometown’s celebrations on horseback since he was eight years old, told us: “From start to finish, it just kept getting better and better.

"But then, I may be biased. Even if I had not been selected as Cornet, I’d still have been there, having the best time … I’d just not be up front holding the flag.

"That was incredibly special, though, and it surpassed everything I thought it was going to be.”

The 21-year-old builder told us that the Common Riding is beloved by everyone in the town.

He said: “After two years off, we were ready for this one.

"We are such a small community, where everybody knows everybody, but we get such a boost when thousands of people turn up from all over the Borders and beyond for the Common Riding.

"And this year was one of the best ones yet … the weather was just perfect.

"I’ve loved being all over the Borders representing my town over the summer, and it’ll be sad when it’s all over after next Saturday at Lauder.

"But to see all those principals come here to celebrate our special day with us was brilliant.”

For townsfolk, it will have been extra special to see that nothing has changed.

It all went to plan, as Rae Elliot performed the ritual Crying of the Fair on horseback, a task performed annually by the past four generations of his family. There was also a welcome return of the kids’ heather besom parade, with the town emblems of a barley bannock, salted herring and nail all playing their part.

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