In the hut at St Leonard’s yesterday morning, June 8, acting father John Lyle told 2018 Hawick Cornet Gareth Renwick: “You have been living your dream.”
And judging by the look of pride on Gareth’s face as he led the cavalcade out of the town and up to the moor earlier that morning, he was right.
Hundreds of well-wishers lined Hawick High Street to cheer the procession on its way to the chases for the married and unmarried followers before the principals, riders and guests enjoyed their traditional curds and cream in the hut, while a large group of spectators gathered in the sunshine outside.
“You have done a fantastic job,” John added. “You are truly a credit to Hawick.”
A rousing rendition of Teribus was sung at St Leonard’s as the gathering left the hut before the riders set out to ride the outlying marches.
It was a fantastic start to the two-day culmination of this year’s Hawick Common Riding following a busy six weeks for the 22-year-old cornet since his installation at the beginning of May.
Charged with safeguarding the town’s traditions, assisted by right and left-hand men Alistair George and Euan Reilly, plus acting father John, Gareth has led hundreds of supporters and mounted followers on the historic ride-outs, services and ceremonies that Teries hold so dear.
Speaking in the hut yesterday morning, rugby legend Jim Renwick, chief guest for 2018, said he’d enjoyed a wonderful festival and cited the bussing of the colours in the town hall the previous evening as his highlight of the event so far.
The nicht afore the morn, or the last night before the big day, saw the hall filled with the Teries lucky enough to bag tickets in a ballot.
Supporters and visiting principals crowded the lads’ gallery as cornet’s lass Jenny Nichol carried the flag to the front of the hall before tying blue and gold ribbons to the head of the staff in a nod to the history of the Borderlands when women bedecked their men for luck before they went off to battle.
Around 250 riders rode to the racecourse the following day for an afternoon of fun in the sun before returning to the town and parading down the high street led by Hawick Drums and Fifes.
Following proclamations and another version of Teribus at Mill Path, the cornet returned the flag to the town hall.
Proceedings conclude today, June 9.
Look out for more coverage and photos next week and in next Thursday’s Southern Reporter and next Friday’s Hawick News.