Cornet is a man of principal

Threepwood Rideout. Lauder Cornet Daniel Simpson.
Threepwood Rideout. Lauder Cornet Daniel Simpson.

The countdown has begun for Daniel Simpson, the 2015 Cornet and Standard Bearer for the Royal and Ancient Burgh of Lauder, before he leads its Common Riding on Saturday, August 1.

Supporting Daniel will be his Cornet’s Lass, Chevonne Ainslie, a nurse at Borders General Hospital, and his Right-Hand Man, Ex-Cornet Craig Connell (2014), and Left-Hand Man, Ex-Cornet Cameron McNeill (2013).

Daniel, who works for Mitch Leitch Surfacing on the Borders Railway, has wanted to be his town’s Cornet since he was a small boy, after seeing his uncle appointed to the post. He even turned down the chance to spend this year in Australia to be Lauder’s 2015 principal.

Lauder boasts one of the original Common Ridings, dating back to the 1600s. It was discontinued in the mid-1800s before being reinstated in 1911 to celebrate the coronation of King George V, and has continued ever since, with the exception of the two world wars.

The revived event today differs very little from the original. Sports, parades, dances and concerts precede the main events on the Saturday when the Cornet receives the Burgh Flag at the Tollbooth. He leads the mounted cavalcade to the Waterin’ Stane and onto the Burgess Cairn, the only boundary stone still in existence. The proceedings conclude with a ceremony at the war memorial and the return of the Flag, with games and horse events.

The festivities begin on Sunday, July 26, with the kirkin’ of the Cornet at 11.30am in Lauder Parish Church, followed by children’s sports and family fun day in the Public Park at 2pm. The next day the Apprentice Ride leaves from Castle Riggs (Public Park) at 10am, before the ticket-only Ex-Cornets’ Dinner starts at 7.30pm in the Public Park marquee. Then Tuesday, July 28, sees the Exiles’ Reunion at 8pm in the Public Hall.

On Wednesday, July 29, the fancy dress parade, led by Stow Pipe Band, sets off at 8pm, with entrants on foot assembling in The Avenue and vehicles in Market Place before the children’s judging at 6.15pm, and the adults’ at 6.45pm.

Then on Thursday, July 30, the children’s show, organised by Lauder Play Club, starts at 2pm in the Public Hall, followed by a preliminary rideout leaving from The Avenue at 6.15pm. Friday, July 31, begins with the duck race at 2pm in Thirlstane Castle car park before the Nicht afore the Morn’ concert at 7.30pm in the primary school, when the Cornet is presented with the Cornet’s Cup.

Common Riding Day on Saturday, August 1, starts with the Cornet’s March, led by Selkirk Silver Band, from the Lauderdale Hotel to Town Hall at 7am, before the riders assemble behind the Town Hall at 7.30am. The presentation of the Burgh Standard to Cornet Simpson then follows at 8am in the Town Hall, before he leads the cavalcade round the burgh. Riders arrive at the Waterin’ Stane at around 9.50am, and then at the war memorial at 11.30am.

The concluding ceremony starts at noon in the Town Hall, where the Lady Busser will buss the Cornet’s Colours. The Common Riding Ball starts at 8pm in the marquee in the Public Park, before the ticket-only Grand March at 9pm.