Thursday, 2 August 2012

Riding's in the Blood - Sepia Saturday

Summer Sports is the theme of this week's Sepia Saturday postings at http://sepiasaturday.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/sepia-saturday-137-4th-august-2012.html

The Cornet carrying "The Banner Blue" leads Hawick Common Riding

I live  in the Scottish Borders, a region often called "Scotland's Horse Country", where riding is in the blood.   In the summer the towns celebrate their history and heritage with the annual common ridings.   In Hawick where I lived until recently,  it is both a symbolic riding of the town's boundaries, made in the past to safeguard burgh rights and also a commemoration of the callants, young lads of Hawick, who in 1514, raided a body of English troops and captured their flag - the "banner blue". This skirmish followed the the ill-fated Battle of Flodden in 1513, when King James IV and much of the "Flower of Scotland" were killed. 

All of the main towns in the Borders have a 'common riding' - or something similar, but each one has its own unique spirit and specific traditions. Typically, a "Cornet" or other named representative, i.e. Standard Bearer, Braw Lad, Callant, Reiver etc. is selected from the young men of the town, and becomes an honoured figure. He leads a procession of mounted and foot followers through the town. He proudly carries the town flag, creating a marvellous spectacle. He then leads his cavalcade of riders out of the town into the hills and around the town's ancient boundaries re-enacting the age old ritual of 'riding the marches.'  It is a time of community picnics, horse racing and general celebrations.
Hawick's Cornet with the "Banner Blue".


Not surprisingly, riding is a popular activity locally  and one my  daughter was keen to join at any early age.  





35 years on,  and donkey is still going strong, with my  granddaughter eager to get in the saddle.





With thanks to Lesley Fraser for allowing me to feature her two  photographs of  Hawick Common Riding
http://www.ilfimaging.co.uk/

21 comments:

  1. That is an interesting riding tradition, and those are cute pictures of your daughter and granddaughter.

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  2. Oh I do like traditions like this, and that was a clever move bringing your daughter and granddaughter in on the act.

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  3. What charming photos. They are great family treasures for sure!

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  4. Great pictures! How nice that you still have that donkey for your granddaughter to enjoy. He looks to be in good shape too!

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  5. Lovely that your granddaughter has an heirloom to ride! I'm visiting your fair country later in the month - joining the throngs to see the Tattoo. I think it's all on foot isn't it?

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  6. A sweet combination of heritage and family. Both nice traditions to see.

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  7. I enjoyed the history as well as the family photos. My older daughter was a horsey girl too.

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  8. I am learning every day, this time about Scotland. Thanks. I'll show this to my horse riding daughter as well.

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  9. We still have the tradition of riding the 'bounds' every year when the fair comes to town - this is in the north-east of England. Can't match the family riding shots however, just amazed the horse has survived so long.

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  10. You have made me even more eager to visit Scotland one day.

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  11. I like that tradition of riding. Must be big fun. Your daughter and granddaughter are cute!

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  12. Lovely opening photos, but the ones of your daughter and granddaughter charmed my heart. Thanks for sharing,

    Kathy M.

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  13. I love hearing about a countries' traditions. The matching photos of your daughter and granddaughter are really special.
    Nancy

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  14. Living in Kentucky there are horses everywhere. It is the most popular activity around my rural area. Riders in groups out every weed-end hot or cold. Our son owns 3 Tennessee walkers and most of our grands ride. Great post.
    QMM

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  15. Thank you to everyone for such kind comments. I enjoyed compiling the post.

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  16. Lovely photos - especially of the little donkey. I'd have loved one of them :-) The Cornet looks very proud, and so he should be. I gave up riding after bouncing on my head too much!

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  17. A fascinating horse-ride of a post.

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  18. All that tradition, including two generations riding the toy horse. Apparently my granddaughter had fun riding last weekend too. Do you think all kids love horses?

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  19. Lovely photos - how special to still have the donkey around for your granddaughter to enjoy! Family traditions are so much fun.

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  20. Oh, what a wonderful post Susan. I went all shivery reading about the "callants" of Hawick capturing the British flag the year after that disastrous "Battle of Flodden". All history fascinates me but particularly Scottish, guess it's in the blood/ genes :-) To be living amongst all that history and continuing hundreds of years of celebration leave me in awe. Especially so because Australia, and particularly South Australia, is so new to European settlement. Thanks so much, Catherine

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  21. What precious photos of your daughter and granddaughter on that special heirloom donkey!

    And great history lesson as well!

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