Langholm’s Great Day

Today’s guest picture is another from Mary Jo’s flight to breakfast. It is entitled ‘clouds and canola’.

The only business of the day today was celebrating the Common Riding. The garden was left with flowers unregarded and poppies un-dead-headed . . .

. . . as we set off to see the cornet lead his procession of mounted followers through the town and up onto the hill. The procession comes with emblem bearers, the town band and a good crowd of spectators. After the flag is handed out, it comes over the town bridge and on to Thomas Telford road . . .

. . . passing, as the alert will notice, the finest corner shop in the world.

After horses went past me, filling the road, I crossed the bridge and waited with Mrs Tootlepedal for their return after the procession had gone round the Square pump and the Buccleuch Centre.

Cornet Ruairi Hotson, had time to smile for the camera.

The procession then headed along the High Street to the foot of the town, and Mrs Tootlepedal and I took to our electric bicycles and pedalled in the opposite direction, up the road to the White Yett.

We enjoyed the view up the Ewes valley with a hint of sunshine . . .

. . . and passed the Macdiarmid memorial as we took the track up towards the monument.

We didn’t didn’t go as far as the monument itself, because the cavalcade visits the Castle Craigs before going to the top of the hill. While we were cycling up the hill, the cornet and his followers were galloping from the centre of the town up the Kirk Wynd to the cheers of many hundreds of spectators. They then came up the hill at a more sober pace.

We parked the bikes and waited for the cornet to appear over the shoulder of the hill . . .

. . . with his followers following him.

We reserved a special cheer for our church organist Henry, who was looking splendid today.

The cornet leads his followers round a short triangular route taking in ancient boundary stones before they wind up the track to the Castle Craigs.

The gather there and listen to the crying of the fair . . .

. . . before heading onwards . . .

. . . to the top of the hill.

The flag is carried three times round the monument before the horseman make their way back to the town . . .

. . .straight down the face of the hill.

Those last two pictures were taken with a long lens from an upstairs window in our house as we had got back down the hill on our bikes before the riders on their horses.

On our way both up and down the hill, we met a lady, an owner of one of the dogs that had competed in the early morning hound trail which starts the Common Riding day off. Her dog had been spooked at the road crossing before the finish of the trail, and had vanished from sight. The owner was patiently waiting near the finish some hours later in the hope that it would reappear.

When we got home, we invited Margaret round for coffee, and sat out in the garden next to the blue stems of the eryngium while we sipped and chatted.

When I heard the Town Band playing, I left the ladies to go along to see the procession crossing the Ewes Water from the Kilngreen to the Castleholm. I found that I was far too early, and there was a lot more to be done before the crossing, so I went home and had a second cup of coffee before going off again at the right time.

I found a space beside the river and waited until first the spade bearing party walked across the water . . .

. . .and then the cornet carried the town’s standard across . . .

. . . followed by riders of all ages.

There were well over 100 riders in the procession so I had time after the cornet had crossed to go along the Kilngreen through the crowds to the Town Bridge and still see riders crossing the water.

After the ceremonial cutting of sods on the Castleholm, the Cornet leads the assembled riders on a circuit of the race course in the ‘Cornet’s Chase’. I am told that his horse had demonstrated an unnerving tendency to duck under the rails in practices, so he was mounted on a different horse and carefully led oud to begin the proceedings . . .

. . . and after waiting a moment to let him get clear, the rest of the riders charged up the track with enthusiasm. You can see the remains of Langholm Castle in the background.

In the afternoon, Mrs Tootlepedal did some useful gardening while I went up to the cricket field . . .

. . . where the crown is displayed.

The roses did so well this year that they didn’t need to use any of ours.

I watched the athletics for a while . . .

. . .and then went to watch the horse races. The first race was a three horse race, but one rider fell off leaving only two horse to to contest the finish. This was not the winner.

I wandered along the back straight while I was waiting for the second race. There is always something to see on the Castleholm . . .

. . .and I had time for a good look round . . .

. . . before the second race, the big race of the day, thundered past me.

I liked the casual way one of the jockeys stood up as the horses wound down after passing the finishing post.

The third race started in the back straight . . .

. . . and came whizzing round the bottom corner not long afterwards. These horses go at a good pace . . .

. . . and the jockeys are taking it seriously.

I left for home after that, and after a cup of tea and a slice of bread and gooseberry jelly, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went out in glorious sunshine to saunter round the newly opened Gaskells Walk. As I had already taken far too many pictures, I refrained from adding any more until I was mugged by some phloxes as we came back into the garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal had spotted an interesting moth when we were up on the hill in the morning . . .

. . . and she found another one in the house in the evening.

I am not a moth fancier, but I think that the one on the hill was a ‘large yellow underwing’ moth and the one in the house was a ‘dark arches’. I am happy to be corrected if anyone knows better.

It was really good to have the Common Riding back as normal after a long gap because of Covid. Whether it will have contributed to more spreading of infection is a moot point. It is an outdoor event.

The flying bird of the day is the heron. It unexpectedly flew past me when I was waiting for the Cornet’s Chase.

Footnote: I apologise to patient readers for the large number of pictures today, but it is a big day!

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

46 thoughts on “Langholm’s Great Day

  1. A grand day indeed and good that you managed to get up to The Castle Craigs. I had meant to go but didn’t fancy walking up as I wanted to see both fair cryings back in the town. Thank you for an excellent description of our Common Riding.

  2. You have explained what this is all about before so I won’t ask you to do so again, though I forget every year. Though we have nothing like it here it seems like a combination of a county fair and a parade. In any event it all seems to have very ancient roots. It’s great that the entire town can be part of it.
    You got some great shots of the horse races. I can’t imagine doing that!

    1. To put it briefly, the cornet and his followers go out to check that common land has not been encroached on. It is purely symbolic though as the land was all owned by the Duke for many years! Now of course, the community owns the land after the recent buy out.
      The bird camera comes in very handy for the racecourse shots.

  3. “Mugged by some phloxes”! 🙂

    What a remarkable number of riders this year – a great day indeed. The missing hound is a bit of a worry for that poor lady – hope he shows up for supper!

    1. I wish that I was young again to enjoy more of the day. It starts at 6.30 in the morning and ends at 9 in the evening. Too much for me these days.

  4. It must have been a great day indeed… Thanks for showing us this special event. I like the Macdiarmid memorial.
    The view of the horseback rides climbing the hills, crossing the moors and the river takes us way back in time.
    I hope the dog will return to the lady, if not it will we a sad day for her. Nice shots of the sports men and the horse race too.

    1. I am happy to report that the dog was found. The horses on the hill are indeed a reflection of times past, though horses just for riding were quite rare in our area. Most horses were working horses.

  5. Where do all those horses and riders come from? Are they all local or do they come from far and wide?
    The men walking in the water reminded me of the dancers in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games opening ceremony. It’s clearly the thing these days!

    1. Most of the horses are hired. There is a good business in hiring out horses for the various border Common Ridings. Quite a lot of the youngsters on ponies will come in from neighbouring towns.

  6. Not too many pictures at all! A splendid record of Langholms special day. You took a fine picture of the cornet and another of your organist. The horse racing photographs were amazing.

  7. I am glad you were mugged by phloxes after such a busy and exciting day. Your photographs of all the action are great to see.

  8. It is no garden when without phlox! And what a day for the Riding! Beautiful views and a lot of action. There can never be too many pictures in your posts!

  9. I enjoyed all the photos. I a glad the weather held and Langholm was able to celebrate Common Riding Day. The views from the hills are always special. I agree, the phlox is beautiful. I have some white ones here.

  10. A remarkable album of photos to record the Riding! Really wonderful photos of all the people and horses taking part and the photos of the horse races were fantastic! Every photo better than the one in today’s newspaper! I’m taking a break from WordPress through August….hasta la vista!!

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