THERE were flurries of snow in the morning but come lunch time last Saturday the sun was shining bright.

And, coupled with the red hot atmosphere as Teries welcomed Cornet Ross Nichol, it was no wonder this year’s man-of-the-moment had a beaming smile for all the world to see.

Just days after his official election Cornet Nichol, who first followed back in 2002, was at the head of the cavalcade for his first ride-out to Bonchester.

And the 22-year-old admitted it provided the first of many memorable moments.

He told the Hawick News: “I woke early on Saturday morning, after a great night at the Ex-Cornets and Ex-Acting Fathers’ dinner. I felt excited and was raring to go.

“Riding round the corner at the Backdamgate was a feeling I’ve never experienced. It’s hard to explain, but I certainly felt very privileged and honoured to be leading the cavalcade as Hawick Cornet.

“And to have the sun shining was something very special.”

A following of 190 horses took their place behind Cornet Nichol as men, women and children – some saddling up for the first time – rounded the Tower Knowe, up the Howegate, over Slitrig Bridge and out past Stonefield destined for Bonchester.

“The ride was great, after reaching the top of Coliforthill on Roy, I had a minute or two to watch the rest of the riders get their first birl up the hill,” said Cornet Nichol. “The ground and weather were perfect for the horses. It was a just a tremendous day.”

On arriving at Bonchester, the Cornet and the rest of the Big Eight were treated to a meal at the Horse & Hound pub and paid their annual visit to Weens House before leaving.

The support on horseback was equalled if not bettered by the hundreds of townsfolk of all generations who were there to cheer on their Cornet, both on the way out, the many picnickers at Bonchester and as he made his way back into town up Weensland Road and along the High Street.

“The support was amazing, a great turn out of horses and the folks on the streets and up at their windows was brilliant too. Thanks to everyone for making my first ride-out so memorable,” acknowledged Cornet Nichol.

“I couldn’t pick out a single highlight. The whole day was special.”