Principals and representatives of the 11 Scottish Borders Common Ridings and Festivals gathered in Hawick, home of one of the most ancient Borders rideouts, to launch and promote ‘Return to the Ridings.’
The towns of Hawick, West Linton, Selkirk, Peebles, Melrose, Galashiels, Jedburgh, Duns, Kelso, Lauder and Coldstream will celebrate their historic Common Ridings and Festivals by collaborating with Homecoming Scotland and Scottish Borders Council (SBC) to increase the marketing and promotion of next year’s events.
The events are steeped in history and can be traced back to the turbulent times when the English Scottish borderlands were the most fought over in the UK.
A new short film has also been commissioned to showcase the Scottish Borders Common Ridings and Festivals and illustrate what visitors to the region can expect to see.
At the launch Caroline Packman, EventScotland Homecoming Director highlighted the year of Homecoming and gave an insight into what will be happening throughout 2014.
Councillor Jim Brown, Vice Convener of SBC said: “Return to the Ridings is a signature Homecoming Scotland 2014 event which aims to attract visitors back to the Scottish Borders Common Ridings and Festivals. The Common Riding Festivals provide a stunning spectacle unique to Scottish Borders life, and through Return to the Ridings we are extending a warm welcome for Scottish Borders descendants to return to their ancestral town, and we hope to attract more new visitors to the Borders in 2014.
“The region is hosting a series of events as part of the national Homecoming celebrations and extending an open invitation to all to ‘come back to the Scottish Borders’.”
The year 2014 is of significance for Hawick as it commemorates the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Hornshole. Only a year after Hawick lost most of its able bodied men at the battle of Flodden in 1513, the youth of the town defeated a large English raiding party and captured their standard – symbolised throughout the years in the Hawick Common Riding.
Frank Scott, Secretary to the Hawick Common Ridings said: “2014 is a hugely important year for the town and there will be a lot for visitors to see. On 5 May well over 1,500 children from Hawick will take part in a march from Hornshole to the centre of Hawick for the unveiling of a new three metre high bronze statue commemorating the ‘Big Return’ from Hornshole.”