THE town awoke to the unmistakeable clatter of horses’ hooves this morning as Hawick Common-Riding 2012 galloped into action.
And for one young callant it has been the realisation of a lifelong dream as he took charge of the unbussed Banner Blue and chased up the Nipknowes to the cheers of hundreds.
The rapturous welcome he received in The Hut is testament to Cornet Ross Nichol’s ever-increasing popularity and the groundswell of support will continue to multiply.
The 22-year-old said: “This means absolutely everything to me. Today will be a day I’ll never forget. Getting to hold that ancient banner will complete a lifelong ambition. I’m honoured to have this opportunity.”
This evening will also be a huge occasion for Cornet’s Lass Gillian Smith, who will take centre stage at the Colour-Bussing. And while she admits to a few nerves, it is an event, like the upcoming weekend, that she is eagerly anticipating.
“I have nerves that everything goes well and I’m sure it all will,” said the 25-year-old. “I am more excited than I’ve ever been and I hope I do everyone proud.”
Cornet Nichol and his Lass have been helped every step of the way by their Acting Father and Mother Iain and Andrea Huggan.
Iain said: “I can’t wait for everything to start, but I really don’t want it to finish. Everything has been absolutely brilliant and it’s just going to get better.”
More than 40 people, including ex-Cornets and ex-Acting Fathers, members of the Common-Riding Committee and the public helped to prepare the Moor for the big weekend.
Their efforts were praised by committee chairman Stuart Marshall, who is now looking forward with great excitement.
He said: “Our Cornet has executed his duties to perfection over the past few weeks and richly deserves what’s in front of him this weekend.
“I hope that townsfolk, young and old alike, have a very enjoyable Common-Riding.”