Shared disappointment at ride ‘lockout’

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As one of the organisers of the Borderers Return relay ride (Southdean to Hawick leg), may I say a great big thank you to all the landowners, farmers and tenants for allowing us passage over their land on our historic ride to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden. I would also like to thank everyone who took part: riders, foot marshals, the police, the entertainers and not least the townspeople of Hawick who turned out in their masses .

The ride was planned to try and take in as many sites of historical importance as possible within a tight time frame: Southdean Kirk, the site of a peel tower on Lustrther sacked just after
Flodden; Bonchester village; Sclaterford Bridge, the site of a skirmish where Lord Dacre had to flee for his life a couple of months after Flodden; Denholm village; Cavers, the ancestral home of the Douglas Clan; and Ormiston Farm, steeped in local history.

In response to the ‘Anger over Cavers omission’ letter in last week’s paper, may I say that the other riders and I were also very disappointed we were denied access through Cavers on the old road, as this seems to be a right of way on every map I have looked at. I did approach a house owner to gain access through a gate which had been padlocked on the road and was told “NO!” I tried to explain the significance of the event, but again it was a “No!” Another place with the same response was at Old Deanbrae, again with locked gates.

As I write, I am in touch with Access Scotland and and council’s access officer to see if these gates are being locked illegally, as they deny access to walkers, horse riders and mountain bikers alike. I have also been approached by other Cavers residents who think this is a right of way.

Our Common-Riding is held to mark our common land and make sure no-one encroaches upon it and claims it for themselves. It seems to me that this is now happening, with people locking gates and claiming it is private land.

Magistrates be faithful trustees

Equal poise the scales o justice

See oor common rightly guided.

Quirky lairds nae mair divide it

LAWRENCE MARSHALL