Cornet Ross Gibson admits that he has mixed emotions as he prepares to lead the cavalcade on his seventh and final ride-out to Denholm tomorrow afternoon.
All roads lead to the village for not only the popular ride, but the favourite picnic which is cherished by families and revellers alike – and for the man at the helm, it marks a turning point in his role. “I think I will feel happy and sad on Saturday,” Cornet Gibson told the Hawick News. “It’s my last ride-out, but at the same time, I know the best bit is at the end, although I’m trying hard not to think ahead.”
But the 24-year-old says he will make sure that he enjoys every minute of tomorrow, which is expected to attract a similarly large number of riders as Roberton, for which more than 300 saddled up. Cornet Gibson went on: “Everything has been going so quickly, I’ve been trying to make sure I think about everything when I get home, so tomorrow will definitely be another special day I have to take in.”
He added: “Arriving into Denholm behind the pipe band will be great, and visiting Hornshole will be very humbling.”
Sharing a similar rollercoaster of emotions is Acting Father Alan Gray, who said: “I could do 100 ride-outs and it wouldn’t be enough, so tomorrow will definitely be weird knowing that that part has come to an end, but I will make sure that I savour every moment. And there is so much still to come.”
Common-Riding Committee chairman Stuart Marshall added: “It’s hard to believe that Denholm is upon us. Ross is doing a fantastic job and I hope everyone enjoys their picnic at Denholm, which is the most popular rideout.”
He added: “I would urge everyone to respect the village and take away their litter.”
The horses leave Backdamgate at 1pm, via High Street, O’Connell Street, Lochpark, Wellogate Brae, Kaimend, Ormiston Hill, Hawthornside, Ruberslaw and Denholm Dean, arriving at 4.30pm. At 6.15pm, there will be a presentation to the Cornet, before the horses depart at 6.30pm and take the back road to Hassendean Burn. The Big Four only ride to Hornshole, before leading the cavalcade to Bucklands, Burnfoot, Wilton Hill, North Bridge Street and High Street, arriving at Tower Knowe at 8.15pm.