Cornet Euan Reilly had 176 horsemen and women in support as he set out on Saturday’s opening ride to Bonchester Bridge.
The 23-year-old said it was “something special” as townsfolk thronged Tower Knowe to cheer him on his way. And although the predicted sunshine did not materialise, with cool conditions and a heavy blanket of mist persisting for most of the day, Euan, with a smile that has already become his trademark, shrugged off the elements to enjoy a first-class start to his tenure.
The cavalcade, with a jubilant Cornet making the role his own at the helm, headed by Lover’s Lane and out to Coliforthill where occupants of a string of cars lent their support to Hawick’s man of the moment. Then on to Kirkton, Birnie and Shipla’ Cross, another popular vantage point for well-wishers.
A good crowd gave a warm reception to the Cornet and his supporters as they arrived in Bonchester, ready for the refreshments laid on for the official party at the Horse and Hound Inn, while car picnics were the order of the day for most.
Before leaving on the return to town, the Big Eight paid a much-looked forward to visit to residents at Weens House, where a hearty sing-song was enjoyed, with Callants Club president Bernie Armstrong leading the way with several Common-Riding favourites. The Cornet and his Lass Lisa McLean received gifts of cuff links and earrings as tokens of the residents’ appreciation.
During the ride homeward, the mist was particularly challenging at Ormiston, but despite this there were no serious spills to report.
Following the return of the Callant and his cavalcade to Hawick, where townsfolk turned out in big numbers to provide an enthusiastic welcome, the night continued with the Right and Left-Hand Men’s dinner in Brodies Restaurant on the High Street. “The food was first class,” said the Cornet.
On Sunday, Hawick Legion FC, for whom Euan is goalkeeper, held a smoker in the Station Bar to honour their player’s big year.
The Cornet’s busy schedule continued on Monday night with a visit to Lodge 111 in Commercial Road, while Wednesday saw him attend the Hawick, its Customs and Traditions Association concert in the Burns Club. Tonight (Friday) he will be guest of honour at the Callants Club smoker in the town hall.
n Supporters walking to the ride-outs are reminded to keep their dogs on leads at all times to ensure permission is given by farmers for future rides to take place.