Hawick's best kept secret!!!
The Cornet for this year is Greg Easton, (and his Lass Stacey Brand), chosen as an upstanding unmarried man of the town, he has to stay unmarried for the next three years as he moves on next year to be the Right Hand Man and the following year to be the Left Hand Man, the Acting Father and Mother are usually someone a little older who have been friends of the Cornet throughout his life!
The ride leaves in procession through streets, (crowded with cheering on lookers), following the 'big four', the Cornet, his Right and Left Hand Men and the Acting Father, their lasses follow by car to appropriate vantage points.
This is the 'Cornet' in front of course and his Right and Left Hand Men!
There were 240 horses and riders who turned out for the first 'Ride Out' of the Hawick Common Riding season!
This is myself with Dibbley and Robin with Bess, don't the horses look well!
Once out of the town we turned off the road and onto open land for the first gallop, we are lucky enough to be able to ride on open land at home but it can be an anxious time, some of the horses don't get a real gallop from one year to the next so you never know what can happen and as usual one or two riders become parted from their horses!
The weather was fine but bitterly cold up on the hills, I was pleased I decided to wear a short coat over my jacket!
So we 'Ride Out' over the town boundaries and open Scottish hills in the direction of Bonchester Bridge where family and friends are waiting with picnic refreshments!
We enjoyed good food and the company of friends we haven't seen since last year as everyone has been so busy over the winter. After the short rest the riders mount their horses and ride back to Hawick apparently checking the town boundaries as we go. Today's ride covers around 15 miles, being the first of the season that's just right.
The hill in the distance is Ruberslaw an ancient volcano!
Here's a video of this ride coming back into town in 2008, that was a glorious shirt sleeve day, I am riding Moth, the mother of Willow my yearling and Robin is riding Bess, (we are near the front of the ride)...thank you for the video Dougie!
When the cavalcade arrives back in Hawick the streets are lined with cheering crowds to welcome the riders home! "Safe Oot, Safe In"