Gallery: Lauder Common Riding '“ It all goes past in a flash for Chris
The 2018 Lauder Cornet, who celebrated his moment in the spotlight with his lass Caitlin Megahy, clearly enjoyed every last minute of Common Riding morning.
We caught up with him following the emotional Watering Stane ceremony, in which Chris was joined by no less than 49 ex-Cornets – a remarkable number – to sing Jeannie’s Black E’e and to toast the queen, the cornet and common riding chairman Ian Middlemiss, as well as raising a glass to the memory of town worthies – ex-provost Bill Hardie and 1977 cornet Dod Masson – who had died in the past year.
Chris told us: “There are no words to describe how amazing this has gone.
“The weather is absolutely perfect for the riders and the horses and people have come from far and wide to support me.
“You get this shot once in a lifetime and you have to grab it with both hands.
“My highlight of the day so far has to be walking down in front of the ex-cornets to get the flag, that was unbelievable, I could barely hold back the tears.”
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The former pupil of Lauder Primary School and Earlston High School added: “I have followed the common riding for many years, but I never really thought the day would come when I would be cornet ... not even after I was elected back in May, I never thought this day would come ... it seemed like it was taking an eternity, but standing here now, it’s going so quickly I wish it would slow down!”
Earlier that morning, Chris led the march from the Lauderdale Hotel to pick up the flag from Lady Busser Beth Middlemiss on the Town Hall steps, and was charged with checking the town’s marches, along with his right and left-hand men Hagen Steele and Greg Scott, and 272 other riders.
Their route took them through the town, and past the golf course – a good point to watch them gallop up the hill on their way to the Watering Stane for that poignant ceremony, and a refreshment stop.
Then, it was another gallop up to the Burgess Cairn, where Chris cast in a stone, before heading back to town, where they were joined by Selkirk Silver Band and led to the war memorial.
There, another thought-provoking service was conducted by the Rev Bruce Lawrie from Selkirk, during which Chris dipped the town’s flag in remembrance of those of the town who gave their lives in conflict.
After this it was a quick stroll back along the High Street behind the band to handing back the flag “unsullied and untarnished”, as tradition dictates.
“The day went superbly well,” said Mr Middlemiss this week, “and it’s all down to countless hours of hard work by many people to prepare for it, and the marshalls and stewards on the day.
“Also, the Gig on the Rig in the afternoon, with the band Fatlips, was very well attended, and I think that will be a yearly occurence.”