Riders on the storm

Philhope Bridge ride-out
Philhope Bridge ride-out

“I’LL always remember it as the first day as Cornet that I got a soaking,” is how this year’s man of the moment has described Saturday’s ride-out.

And although Cornet Davidson says the bad weather certainly didn’t spoil his outing to Philhope Bridge, he has admitted that he hopes it’s his first, and last, soaking of the Common-Riding.

He told the Hawick News: “Luckily we got there dry so it wasn’t too bad, but we got soaked coming back. However the ride itself was brilliant as usual, really fast, and the weather didn’t really bother me.

“But let’s just hope that’s the wet one out of the way.”

Saturday proved it takes more than strong winds and torrential rain to dampen the spirits of Teries who once again rallied round their Cornet, whether it was on horseback, on foot or braving the elements at the stops and the picnic spot – although deteriorating conditions did lead to deckchairs eventually being packed away, and the horses leaving Philhope Bridge half-an-hour early, at 5pm.

But earlier in the day the cavalcade of around 180 horses was cheered out of the town under dry skies, by crowds which lined the route all the way. And as a ride-out renowned for its long gallops and open countryside, the riders weren’t disappointed – while for Cornet Davidson it more than lived up to always being one of his favourites.

“The highlight of the day for me was the ride itself,” he said.

“Once we had been through a few fields it was non-stop, and the ground was good, so we just kicked on.”

And the day passed without incident or injury, with head riding marshal Mick Robertson adding: “Everything went well apart from the weather. It was fair going there and the ground was great, but the heavens opened at Philhope Brig.”

He added: “On the way home we were all drenched right through, and for those just in hacking jackets it must have been a nightmare.”

Alluding to the decision taken to leave Philhope Bridge at 5pm, the Cornet commented: “We left early for the sake of the horses as a lot of them that didn’t have rugs were freezing, so it was better to get moving again.”

But although less riders saddled up for the return journey, instead opting to box home, those intrepid enough to complete the ride returned back safely, just saturated.

Ex-Cornet’s Lass Louise Philbin, who followed on Saturday, summed it up by stating: “What a day riding, I loved it though. Who cares if it’s windy and wet, it adds to the adventure.”

Cornet Davidson joked: “I’ll always remember it as the first day as Cornet that I got a soaking.”

But paying tribute to townsfolk, he added: “I really appreciate all the people who supported me when the weather was that bad.”