Hanging up and riding out

Culloden

Today’s guest picture comes from the sister of the Canadian lady, Lucie, who sent me a fine picture of a bison. Jennifer, the sister, lives in the Highlands of Scotland and sent me this picture of a view from Feabuie woods near Culloden Battlefield, across the Moray Firth to the Black Isle.

Culloden

We could have done with some of Jennifer’s nice weather here today as we had another mostly grey, mostly windy and often rainy day.  Currently any resemblance to summer in Langholm is purely accidental.

When I ventured out into the garden after breakfast, I saw that the three Shirley poppies were feeling much the same about the weather as me…

shirley poppies

…depressed.

There were other soggy flowers.

phlox and marigold
Blue phlox has come to join the pink and white

However I was cheered up when I went to the Welcome to Langholm office…

wtl

…and found that not only did we have enough photographs to make a modest exhibition…

camera club exhibition
A corner of the show

…but that several members had turned up to help so it didn’t take us long to get everything sorted out.

One of the helpers was Sandy and after we had finished, he and I went back to Wauchope Cottage for a cup of coffee and a Jaffa cake (or two in my case).

There are plenty of lettuces in the garden so Sandy took one away and I had some of another one in the form of a lettuce and marmite sandwich for my lunch.  A lunch fit for kings.

After lunch, I checked the weather and as it seemed to be likely to be reasonably fair for a while, I went off to see the the horsemen on the Castle Craigs ride out.  This is part of our Common Riding tradition and in a way, it is a rehearsal for the great day on Friday.

Horsemen career up the Kirk Wynd and onto Whita Hill (it is all men at the Castle Craigs ride out unlike the Common Riding procession, which is open to all riders) and I went some distance up the Wynd and waited for them to arrive.

The cavalcade is led by the cornet and so I was surprised to see his left and right hand men coming up before him…

left and right

…but the cornet was following close behind on his white horse.

cornet

I learned later that the cornet’s horse and its rider had had a difference of opinion about the route further down the hill but no harm came of it and he was soon back in his proper position at the head of affairs.

Mounted followers soon appeared in good numbers…

castle craigscastle craigs

… leaving sensible gaps between groups as they came.

They soon all disappeared up the hill….

castle craigs

…and I followed behind on foot, pausing to take in anything interesting that I saw en route.

hare bell and fungus

The horsemen go round the shoulder of the hill and assemble at the Castle Craigs where they get a group photograph taken.   I walked up to the monument and then down to the track  along which they would return and I had time to see that a good number of supporters had travelled up by car to greet the riders…

castle craigs

…and to position myself among the heather…

heather on the hill
First signs of flowers

…below the track and wait for the arrival of the horses as they came back from theCastle Craigs.

They were preceded first by a quad bike and then by the editor of our local paper….

castle craigs

…but they didn’t keep me waiting long.

castle craigs

There were over eighty horsemen picking their way carefully along a very rough track along the hillside.

castle craigscastle craigs

castle craigs
A study in concentration from horse and rider.

They passed me and turned down the track towards the road at the White Yett where the cars were waiting…

castle craigs

…and we could see the whole troop of riders in a line as they headed off towards Cronksbank….

castle craigs

….where they would stop for refreshments before returning to the town.

I left them to it as I had got a very kind offer of a lift back to the town from the editor who was going to drive through the town and round to Cronksbank from the opposite direction, intending to arrive there before the horses.

I was glad that I got out in the High Street and didn’t go with her,  because the cornet’s father, when I met him on the return of the horsemen, reported that it had been very wet and very cold while they were there…and very, very wet, he added just for emphasis.

I was happy to sit at home and watch the time trial from the Tour de France which was following roads in Marseille very familiar to us from our holiday there last year.  I could swear that I did almost exactly the same course as the cyclists did although I was on a tourist bus.

I went out to see the horses and riders on their return from Cronksbank, pausing to enjoy the crocosmia and hosta beside the dam as I went.

Crocosmia and hosta
Adding much needed colour to a rather grey day

The cavalcade parades round the town when it come back, preceded by the Langholm Pipe Band, seen here about to cross the Langholm Bridge…

Langholm Pipe Band castle craigs

……followed by the riders dressed for the weather.

castle craigs
The Front Three

Those who had hired their horse for the day went off to the Kilngreen rather than cross the bridge but the rest followed the cornet down Thomas Telford Road.

Castle Craigs

I was going to follow too but it soon started to rain again so I went home.  I found a moment to look at the privet flowers which are beginning to fall like snow….or possibly like pasta on a closer look.

privet

Needless to say when all the excitement was over and the soaked riders had got home, the sun came out and we had a beautiful evening again for a while.  It does this sort of thing on purpose.  It did mean though that I could pick some peas to have with an omelette for my tea.

There was a spot or two of feeble  sunshine while I was walking up the hill in the afternoon so I looked at my favourite view…..

Ewes valley

The flying birds of the day are either standing around or about to go swimming.

blackbird an duck

 

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

29 thoughts on “Hanging up and riding out

  1. Wonderful action shots of the riders today! I’m sorry the weather wasn’t too good but the camera club show looks to be a success and fresh lettuce and peas from the garden are real bonuses.

  2. loved seeing the riders. I have seen some while up in the Borders. it seems to be a Scottish thing as it doesn’t happen in the south that I know of. well done for going out despite the rain

  3. I’d love to be able to browse through the camera club photos. There would be much to learn, I’m sure.
    I wonder what the cornet has to do to become the cornet. Pure of heart and kind in deed must be part of it.
    I love the views of the crocosmia and hosta, and the beautiful view from the hillside.

    1. He has to be a young local man (always a man) who in the opinion of the townspeople is fit to represent us in neighbouring towns, good enough to ride a horse competently, strong enough to carry the town’s flag and popular enough to win an election for the post against other contenders. It is a great honour to be our cornet and the aura of the position remains with those who have held it for the rest of their lives.

  4. I hope that this stretch of cool weather now will lead to perfect weather for the actual common riding and other festivities.

    It must be quite a sight to see 80 riders in procession at one time.

    1. It is….and there should be more than twice as many on the great day. The weather looks as though it is going to stay rather changeable which is a pity.

  5. Truly fascinating looking at your pictures of the riders, and your mention of marmite reminds me of eating that while living in northern Germany many years ago. I’ll have to see if it’s sold here somewhere.

  6. How wonderful to see those horses galloping up the hill towards you- great photos that capture the thrill and excitement of horse riding in a beautiful area. It makes such a difference when there are many hands to help in the hanging of a display in any exhibition- best of luck with your photos. Hope the weather improves as your poppies do indeed look very sad. I knew you’d be sensible and be a marmite lover too!

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