THERE was never a hill like the Vertish Hill this morning, as hundreds of Teries and horsemen arose early to support their Cornet.
The clatter of hooves, the strains of song and speech from the Hut, and a bustling west end, have all ensured the air is filled with the unique atmosphere of Hawick Common-Riding – and tonight when St Mary’s clock strikes six, marking the official start of proceedings, there will be no denying that the town’s beloved celebrations have begun.
For Cornet Chris Ritson, who held the unbussed Flag up the Nipknowes this morning, it marks the beginning of “the best weekend of his life”.
The elated 23-year old told the Hawick News: “My feelings are all over the place, I can’t believe the main weekend is here; but I can’t wait for it all, and to get my hands on the Banner Blue. It’s all I’ve wanted since I was a boy.”
Having served an impressive apprenticeship, this year’s incumbent has won great affection and been praised with setting the stage for a special weekend.
Common-Riding Committee chairman Stuart Marshall commented: “Since the Thursday Night Chase the atmosphere in the town has been fantastic, because we have a very popular Cornet and superb Principals. It’s hard to believe the best weekend in our calendar is upon us.”
That same feeling is shared by Acting Father Stuart Hunter, who stated: “I haven’t got a clue how I’m supposed to feel because I never thought I’d be in this position, but I’m just trying to take it in my stride. I’m having a ball, and it’s only going to get better.”
Cornet’s Lass Heather Amos, who began a diary in January but says she’s had no time to update it since Picking Night, is also pinching herself. She commented: “I can’t believe how fast it’s gone. People said don’t blink or you’ll miss it, and it’s true.”
The popular Lass, who admitted to feeling nervous ahead of her special moment tonight when she Busses the Colour, added: “I’m so excited.”
Sharing the same sentiment, proud Acting Mother Julie Hunter added: “I’m really looking forward to the Colour-Bussing and the Moor, but can’t wait for it all.”
Mr Marshall, who as the town’s newly elected Provost, will officiate over his first Colour-Bussing tonight, added: “I wish all Teries, exiles and visitors a very enjoyable Common-Riding.”
And the most excited Teri of them all, Cornet Ritson, added: “I’d like to wish everyone a fantastic Common-Riding. I can’t wait; it’s going to be best weekend of my life.”