At Jethart Callant’s Festival Day on Friday 13th July
If you’ve never been to see any of the Borders Common Ridings then you must get to Jedburgh on Friday 13th to experience the wonderful Festival Day.
The day begins early, with the rideout of around two hundred horses leaving the town at around 8:30 a.m. They ride over fields to the historic Ferniehirst Castle, seat of the Kerr Clan, to commemorate the recapture of the castle from the English in 1549.
After the ceremonies and resting the horses here, the ride continues at around 10:30, on to the Capon Tree, the last remaining oak of the ancient Jedforest, and returns to the town’s War Memorial at around 12:30, where the callant lays a wreath and lowers the flag while a lone piper plays the lament “The Floo’ers o’ the Forest”. A minute’s silence is observed by all as the ‘Last Post’ draws the ceremony to a close.
The pipe bands really stir up heart strings on the day and almost the whole town turn out to watch the festivities. A fun spot to spectate is beside the river Jed to watch the horses splash through the river – a welcome cool-down on a hot day!
RWWC’s Nicky on her handsome horse Charlie (left) in 2015. It was also Charlie’s 10th birthday, he thought the celebrations were in his honour!
After the rideout there is a Fun Day on Murray’s Green at 1pm, all welcome, followed by the fancy dress parade through the streets. This is always really entertaining, with a lot of effort being put into the costumes, even the band leading the procession taking part!
So, even if you’re not fully aware of the historical significance of these Borders events, the spectacle, pomp and ceremony of each Borders town’s rideouts is something to behold, you can’t help but be impressed.