Acting Father Richie Lynn says he was overwhelmed by the sea of faces that cheered him up the Nipknowes last Thursday night as he took centre stage at the Chase.
And the proud Fither admits that there aren’t many other words he can use to describe a moment he has thought about since Picking Night, when he thundered up to the crossroads and into a packed Hut.
He told the Hawick News: “I had expected a lot of people to be out but there seemed to be so many more than I had imagined. The feeling galloping up as everyone cheered was just amazing. I tried to take it all in but it was just overwhelming.”
Hundreds of Teries young and old had made the annual trip up the Loan to witness the first of the “official rides” prior to Common-Riding week, and although there was a cold breeze, the Vertish Hill was still blessed with sunshine as townsfolk shouted their encouragement when the impressive turnout of married men, followed by the unmarried men, clattered by.
Richie added: “I feel like I keep saying it that it’s so hard to put it all into words. Leading the Chase was just absolutely brilliant, and what I still can’t get over is the support of townsfolk. It is very special.”
And at the helm of the unmarried men was an equally delighted Cornet Hepburn, who said: “Thursday night was just brilliant. It was Richie’s night and I was so pleased for him. And riding up in front of those huge crowds at the front was something else, a whole new experience. And it was amazing seeing the Vertish so packed.”
Despite a drop in temperature after the dust had settled, hordes of townsfolk still took their places outside the Hut to hear the songs and speeches – and inside the mercury certainly climbed higher as Acting Father Richie received his badge from Provost Stuart Marshall, and both he and Cornet Hepburn a hero’s welcome.
The Cornet added: “Words can’t describe the noise and atmosphere in the Hut, standing up waiting to speak was incredible, what a night.”