An appropriate guest picture for today was sent to me by Edward Winter from Sheffield. He tells me,”It shows the cup the late John Edward (Ted) Dunglinson won for his victory at Langholm in the 1963 All Weights Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling competition. Ted was my mother’s cousin but to me, he was always and remains, Uncle Ted.”
I got up at ten past five in the morning and as a result there are far too many pictures in today’s post so those of an impatient nature or with better things to do should just scroll quickly down, click the ‘like’ button and go back to their own life.
The reason that I got up at ten past five was that I could hear the faint sounds of a drum beating. When I went out to look, there was nothing to be seen in Caroline Street…
..but it wasn’t long before the source of the noise that woke me became plain…
…it was the Langholm Flute Band with their followers, taking a break while parading round the town to wake us all up to greet the Langholm Common Riding and summon us to go up the hill for the hound trail that starts the day off.
They were soon back to their puffing and blowing and thumping the drum…
…on into the High Street…
….and it wasn’t long before they headed up the hill.
After greeting the Cornet and his Right and Left, getting ready to perform their duties at the hound trail…
I followed on up the hill. I played in the flute band for thirty years and then retired and I haven’t been up to see the hound trail for ten years since then so this was like a new experience for me.
I could have had a bet on the outcome of the hound trail…
…but I knew enough to know that I didn’t know enough to risk any money on the outcome so I joined those waiting for the action to start.
We were all waiting for this man to appear.
He had the air of one who has just walked briskly for five miles through wet long grass and tussocks dragging an aromatic sack which sets the trail for the hounds to follow. A colleague has walked the other five miles down the far side of the valley to set the trail for the return journey.
The hounds run five miles up the right hand side of the valley and then back down the left side crossing the main road twice.
Once the trail setter had arrived, the hounds’ owners brought their dogs to the start.
The hounds are held back for the start with different techniques…
…but this was the favourite style.
The dogs are very keen to be about their business. A very short clip to demonstrate….
…and then they are off.
…and disappearing into the distance in minutes.
Hound trails are not the greatest spectator sport as there is little sign of the hounds for the next half hour. Still, the scenery is beautiful.
Mist rising from the river valley below.
Then, almost without warning, the anxious owners set up a great wailing and banging of feed bowls…
…and the first dog appears running towards the finish.
The excitement over, the flute band convenes at Hillhead…
..and leads the company back from the hill into the town…
…passing through the rising mist on the way.
There is a quick walk across the fields…
..before re-forming again for the last lap down the High Street…
This is Langholm’s Common Riding alarm clock.
Leaving the band to play a tune or two in front of the Town Hall, I headed home to wait for our visitors, Matilda’s other grandparents, her aunt and her cousin.
As they arrived, the town’s flag was being handed out to the cornet and we took our visitors along to see the mounted procession, led by the town band, come over the Town Bridge….
…and along Thomas Telford Road.
The cornet leads the mounted procession round the Square Pump and the Buccleuch Centre…
…and you can see that he is taking his job seriously.
Soon they are heading back to the centre of the town and the length of Thomas Telford road is filled with the 180 or so horses that are following the cornet.
The horses go down to Townfoot and back to the Market Square where the first fair is cried but we left them to it and joined the crowd at the top of the Kirk Wynd waiting for the gallop up the hill.
Finally the cornet appeared…
…cheered on by the crowd and followed by the rest of the riders.
With such a press of spectators and so many riders, it is always a wonder that no one gets hurt but once again, the moment past off safely.
Once the riders had gone onto the hill, we took our visitors back home and had a hearty brunch. The blackbirds were enjoying the sunny weather in the garden…
..and there were almost as many insects as there had been horses.
Mrs Tootlepedal took our fellow grandparents, Eileen and Francis up to the Market Place to hear the second crying of the fair when the horsemen came back from the hill but I stayed with Katherine and Lola as Lola, Matilda’s cousin was taking part in the Highland Dancing competition on the Castleholm.
When we got to the Castleholm, we were in time to see the cornet carry the flag round the racecourse in the ‘Cornet’s Chase’..
…so called because the other riders, having given him a generous start, follow him round the racecourse.
The cornet takes the flag back to the grandstand where it rests for the afternoon….
…and then there are a series of horse races for riders who had followed the cornet, both big and small.
Highland dancing is a serious business and requires the correct costume…
…and all the dancers wear wellies or Crocs over their dancing shoes until the last minute. Lola looked very elegant though when it was her turn to dance under the eagle eye of the judge.
The dancing went on all afternoon so I went off from time to time to watch the other events on the Castleholm.
The Crown takes pride of place on the athletics field.
There were athletic races….
…and horse racing…
The bottom corner, first race
The top corner, second race
And Cumberland Wrestling which starts with an embrace…
…and ends with a fall.
Which may happen in many different ways.
The clothing may look casual but the wrestling is serious.
Having been up and about since five o’clock, I was getting a bit tired so I left Lola dancing away and went home for a cup of tea and a sit down.
We were very fortunate in having fine weather for our great day as there were some threatening looking clouds on the other side of the hill as I went home.
When the rest of the party had not reappeared after another hour, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to see what had happened. Lola was still dancing! There are innumerable dancers and innumerable classes so you have to have great stamina to compete in these events.
They finally came back to the house and Lola was proud to show off a fine collection of gold and silver medals, a reward for all her hard work.
Now wearing her second dancing costume of the day.
There had been dancers from Philadelphia and Canada in the competition so this was no small scale event.
We sat down to a good meal with our visitors before they left for their lodgings in Ecclefechan. They are going to another dancing competition further north tomorrow. I feel quite tired just thinking about it.
I had hoped to round the day off with a visit to the handing in of the flag, the last event of the Common Riding but the early start proved too much for me and I settled down to write this post instead.
I did find time to take a picture of the flower of the day to celebrate the fine weather which had may the day so particularly enjoyable.
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