The annual rideout to Redeswire raised the curtain on Jedburgh’s main festival week on Saturday.
Jethart Callant Brodie Irvine led a total of 56 riders, including seven first-timers gaining their coveted Redeswire badges, to Carter Bar to commemorate the day in July 1575 when Jedburgh answered the call of the Scots troops fighting the English raiders at Redeswire.
Blessed with clear blue skies and enough of a gusty wind to keep the horses comfortable, the cavalcade rode south on what is the festival’s longest and most historically significant ride.
Foot supporters enjoyed a clear view of the cavalcade snaking through the Knock Hills and Wooplaw behind Brodie as he galloped up hill to greet them with the stirring cry of ‘Jethart’s here!’
After he had led supporters safe oot to the historic Redeswire Stane, the guest speaker, retired Borders vet Nigel Brown, gave a humorous but thought-provoking address.
With the Edgerston countryside as his backdrop, he spoke of what tales the animals who have roamed those hills could have told and of the debt the town owes to those animals involved in rallying the men of Jethart to Carter Bar that day in July 1575.
But this weekend it was all eyes on Brodie as the 21-year-old confidently stood out of the saddle to roar the famous battle cry, a moment which he described as “breathtaking”.
“It is a very strange feeling, and it’s hard to describe,” he said.
“It certainly makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. It was breathtaking.
“We had a brilliant turnout of horses considering it was also the Gala day, and we had a lot of supporters out watching too.”
For Brodie, the week continued with the kirking ceremony on Sunday night, Queen’s ride on Monday evening and rideouts to Lanton and Ancrum after that.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, when he, supported by his right and left-hand men Gary Hogg and Grant Raeburn, plus herald Brian Marshall, will lead the town in its commemorations, Brodie said: “The nerves will definitely be there, but we are all just taking it as it comes and enjoying it.
“I’m having the time of my life so far. I’m looking forward to festival Friday and getting to do the battle cry. That will be the big one. The war memorial ceremony too will be an honour to be a part of.
“The support so far has been brilliant, so here’s hoping for good weather and more of the same on Friday.”
Tonight sees the investiture ceremony and callant’s walk take place from 7.15pm in Market Place.
Tomorrow’s festivities being in Abbey Place at 8.45am, when the lady provost pins a rosette to the Jethart flag borne by the callant.
From there the cavalcade proceeds to Ferniehirst Castle, where a recital of Walter Laidlaw’s ‘The Reprisal’ will be given by Jedburgh Grammar School pupil Alex Taylor at 10.10am.
The president of Jethart Callants’ Club pins a sprig from the Capon tree to the callant’s sash during a ceremony at the tree at 11.10am before the cavalcade continues back into town, arriving at the Toll at 11.30am. The Jed is forded at Auld Brig at 11.40am.
A ceremony of remembrance will takes place at 12.30pm before the callant returns the Jethart flag and receives the callant’s cup.
A family fun day is being held on Murray’s Green between 1pm and 5pm.
Sunday sees the ceremonial return of the sashes at Mary Queen of Scot’s House at 2pm.