A great day

No guest picture today but a portrait of Cornet Little, who carried the town’s flag today.

Common Riding 2018 TT Road 3

We had been promised all sorts of weather, thunderstorms, steady rain, occasional drizzle but in the end, we got a beautiful day for our Common Riding and it was shirtsleeve order until the very end of the day when rain arrived.

As a result of the sunshine, there are a lot of pictures in today’s post so I will try to keep the commentary to a minimum.

It couldn’t have been sunnier when I went along to meet the procession as it came down Thomas Telford Road after breakfast.

Common Riding 2018 TT Road 1

The Town Band is hidden in the crowd there and I was surprised when they came into view to find that Scott the minister was playing the cymbals.

Common Riding 2018 TT Road 2

The band moved on to take their place in front of the mounted procession, led by the front three…

Common Riding 2018 TT Road 4

…before it went back down Thomas Telford Road, crossed the Langholm Bridge…

Common Riding 2018 TT Road 5

…and disappeared down the High Street towards Townfoot.

Common Riding 2018 TT Road 6

While they went on their way, I and a lot of the rest of the town and its many visitors headed up the Kirk Wynd.

Common Riding 2018 crossing the Kirk Wynd 1

Most stopped there to cheer the cornet and his followers as they galloped up the steep hill.  I went further up the hill, passing Mike Tinker and family who had got into a good position earlier on near the Golf Club.

Common Riding 2018 crossing the Kirk Wynd 2

I like to find a position where there are not two hundred people between me and the horses so I climbed a bit higher up the hill, found a secluded spot and admired the views for a few minutes…

Common Riding 2018 crossing the Kirk Wynd 3Common Riding 2018 crossing the Kirk Wynd 4

…before the cornet appeared , proudly carrying our flag up the hill…

Common Riding 2018 crossing the Kirk Wynd 5

…followed as ever by the left….

Common Riding 2018 crossing the Kirk Wynd 6

…and right hand men…

Common Riding 2018 crossing the Kirk Wynd 7

…and then the rest of the 140 or so riders….

Common Riding 2018 crossing the Kirk Wynd 8

…who cantered past me, kicking up a great dust on their way to the hill.

Common Riding 2018 crossing the Kirk Wynd 9

While they continued to the Castle Craigs and the Monument before returning to the town, I went home to meet up with the rest of the family and had a restorative cup of coffee.

Leaving the others behind, as Matilda and Mrs Tootlepedal had been out in quite enough sun for the time being, I found a quiet spot on the bank of the Ewes Water just below the Sawmill Brig.

Common Riding 2018 crossing the water1

It was very peaceful, with a few people and a row of attentive gulls hanging about.

Common Riding 2018 crossing the water2

It wasn’t long though before the pipe band led a procession of children carrying heather besoms over the sawmill brig, bringing a lot of people with it….

Common Riding 2018 crossing the water3

…and soon the banks of the river downstream were also filling up with spectators.

Common Riding 2018 crossing the water4

Some foot soldiers, bearers of the spade, crossed the river on foot…

Common Riding 2018 crossing the water5

…and they were followed by the cornet and his retinue.

Common Riding 2018 crossing the water6

Once across, the riders assembled on the Castleholm…

Common Riding 2018 crossing the water7

…and this took enough time for me to walk back to the town bridge from which I could see the last of the riders still crossing the water.

Common Riding 2018 crossing the water 8

I waited on the banks of the Esk until the cornet had been led past Langholm Castle to start the cornets chase…

Common Riding 2018 cornets chase

…and then went home for lunch.

After lunch, Matilda was ready for action.


She was wearing sensible glasses and a serious hat and every available inch of skin was covered with sunscreen.  Thus armoured, she, I and her mother made our way to the Castleholm where we could watch runners…

Ready, steady, GO!!

…and dancers…

highland dancing

…who must have been intolerably hot in their heavy costumes…

…and catch glimpses of hardy souls having fun on one of the rides at the fair on the Kilngreen.  (Though I use the word fun very loosely when you see it involves being twirled round upside down high above the treetops and then having to wait suspended in the air while new victims get aboard down below.)


My chief interest as usual was the horse racing.  The organisers had been busy with an agricultural sprayer watering the track in the past week so the going was surprisingly good considering the lack of rain.

Common Riding 2018 racing 10

I left Matilda and Clare at the end of the straight where they could see the horses thundering towards them and took my place at the bottom corner.

It was a six furlong sprint and the riders rocketed round the track at an alarming speed…

Common Riding 2018 racing 9
“At full stretch”

…even the one bringing up the rear of the field.

Common Riding 2018 racing 8

The Castleholm racetrack has tight corners and getting round them calls for a great deal of strength and skill.

Common Riding 2018 racing 7

It doesn’t take a horse long to cover six furlongs and within a minute or so the field was slowing down as it came round the bottom corner again having passed the winning post.

Common Riding 2018 racing 6

Before the next race, we were joined by Al and he came up to join me at the top corner.  This was the feature race of the day and worth a cool thousand pounds to the winner.

The runners paraded in the paddock…

Common Riding 2018 racing 5

…before going down to the seven furlong start.  The starter got them off to a very even start…

Common Riding 2018 racing 4

…and I could see them streaking up the back straight…

Common Riding 2018 racing 3

…before rounding the top corner in style…

Common Riding 2018 racing 2

…with the back marker once again trying as hard as all the others.

Common Riding 2018 racing 1

Matilda was quite well enough cooked by now so we made our way home…


Clare, Al and Matilda

…accompanied by a new friend.

Our return was perfectly timed to catch the end of the last mountain stage of the Tour de France and after that we had a peaceful time for the rest of the day.

Matilda took Mrs Tootlepedal out into the garden to do some experimental cycling on the lawn and followed that with some watering and frog spotting from our new garden bridge.

Mrs T and Matilda

This was the frog that they spotted.


I was looking for peacock butterflies and found several of them on the buddleia.

peacock butterfly pair 2

They were working in pairs today.

peacock butterfly pair 1

The Common Riding day ends with dancing, first on the Castleholm and then in the streets on the way back into town for the handing back of the flag.  Every year, I think that I will go up to the field and take some final pictures there and every year, my tired body thinks differently.

I had hoped to close the post with magnificent shots of a blood red moon and Mars but sadly after a sunlit day, the skies clouded over.

Instead of the moon, there is a continuous flicker of lightning around the hills to the north of the town and a distant rumble of thunder so I better send this post off before our connection gets broken.

Some bright flowers from the garden today will have to round things off instead of heavenly wonders.

flowers 2flowers



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

24 thoughts on “A great day

  1. Good to see photos of some of those who appear regularly in these columns – and lots who don’t. Me neither on the funness of that ride. And likewise no luck with the blood moon here in mid-Somerset.

  2. A fine day, and I long one as well I’ll bet. I hope that a good time was had by all, I would find it hard to believe if some one didn’t from your photos of the day’s events.

  3. Such a wonderful post with so much vigour and excitement trailing through it…I’m sure just by looking at all your amazing photos that I can hear all the sounds made throughout such a remarkable day … Matilda will remember this day I’m sure…maybe not for the cornet sounds, the horse racing or the dancing but it was the day she had a new ‘friend’ to fly!

  4. I’m impressed. A town with its very own flag! I’ve never heard of such a thing out here. On the other hand, I believe Matilda steals the show whenever you have her in a post. Not to take away from the beautiful flowers and plants that Mrs T manages to raise in spite of the lack of rain. 😀

      1. How sweet and quaint! I’m afraid that us Americans move around far too much to develop that sort of relationship with a town or city.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: