CORNET Michael Davidson says he tried to ensure that every moment of his final ride-out would be etched onto his memory.
The man of the moment led an estimated 200 followers on Saturday on his last outing before the main Common-Riding week, on a day which although lacking previous years’ warm sunshine, was blessed with townsfolk out in force to support their Cornet, and plenty of good cheer.
And for Cornet Davidson although it was with mixed emotions which he led the cavalcade out of Hawick along the High Street and up O’Connell Street, he told the Hawick News: “I definitely felt sad knowing it was the last ride-out and that part was coming to an end, but I also knew I had plenty to look forward to and to make the most of every minute.
“Denholm is one of the better ride-outs for everyone to enjoy themselves. It was perfect conditions for the horses and everything went really well, so it was a great day.”
Indeed a slightly chilly Denholm did nothing to put off the car-loads of families and friends who descended on the Green for the popular annual picnic and party – and it certainly didn’t affect the warm reception the large crowds gave the cavalcade when it arrived into the village behind the Scout Fellowship Pipe Band.
Acting Father Grahame Nichol said: “The welcome we got was brilliant, it was amazing arriving to the sight of everyone, with the pipe band in front of us.”
But on the return journey the sounds of the cheers quickly evaporated for the Big Four, as they separated from the cavalcade to pay their respects at Hornshole. Cornet Davidson stated: “There was a huge change in atmosphere when we arrived at Hornshole. There was real emotion in the air, and another moment I’ll never forget.”
And the significance of honouring the hallowed spot was equally felt by Acting Father Grahame Nichol, who added: “We were on such a high but then Hornshole was a very, very touching moment. As we rode to the top of the road everything went very quiet and it was respected by everyone there. It was quite emotional and I admit I really felt it, and had a lump in my throat.”
But after a successful ride home, which was blessed with a high number of riders choosing to make the return journey, the Principals’ mood was sent soaring sky high again. After receiving a welcome refreshment courtesy of Burnfoot Community Council, the Cornet said: “When we got back into Hawick the welcome was great, with crowds standing six or seven deep. I remember thinking I would have to always recall that moment, as my last ride-out came to an end.”