Historic bonds of spurs night put seal on new friendships

The towns of Selkirk and Galashiels enjoy a fierce rivalry on the rugby and football pitches .

But for one night a year, all differences are forgotten and the close neighbours come together in fine spirits.

On spurs night, held last Friday, representatives of their respective summer festivals – Selkirk Royal Burgh Standard Bearer Craig Monks and his attendants, and Galashiels Braw Lad Robbie Lowrie and Braw Lass Nicola Laing – met to maintain those bonds, forged so many years ago.

Braw Lad Robbie Lowrie, Selkirk Standard Bearer Craig Monks and Braw Lass Nicola Laing.

And, of course, it marks the start of what can be friendships for life for the individuals concerned.

Craig told us: “It was a fantastic night, and it was a great chance to meet up with the Braw Lad Robbie and Braw Lass Nicola. I’ve known Nicola for years, but to meet her on that stage is a different thing altogether.

“I did say to both of them to treasure each and every moment of their time as principals as the last few weeks have absolutely flown past for me.

“To think it’s the ex-soldiers’ dinner on Friday and the Mosspaul rideout this Saturday is unbelievable.”

Jim Amos hands out the stirrup cup from Gala YM.

Nicola said she fully enjoyed her first ride as Braw Lass and was delighted with the number of people who came out to support the principals.

She said: “It was really great to see so many of the young riders out as well.

“After the ceremony at the burgh buildings, we were able to stand and watch them all go by and we were able to thank them for their support.

“One of the riders was just a year old. It was fabulous.”

Craig Monks receives his spurs from Gala Souters chairman George Emond.

And for Robbie, getting out on the horse was well worth the wait.

He said: “The whole evening was brilliant, even better than I had imagined it would be, and that was pretty brilliant itself. I think it was very busy for spurs night, which really bodes well for the rest of the summer.

“Riding back into town, towards the burgh buildings, after meeting Craig and his burleymen at Galafoot, to see this huge crowd of people cheering us on was quite special.

“Now I’m massively looking forward to Threepwood this Friday, where we can get a bit of a canter going and meet the Lauder Cornet.”

Standard Bearer Craig, along with his burleymen Peter Forrest and Kieran Riddell, arrived at Galafoot on horseback and were met by Robbie and Nicola, accompanied by a large mounted following.

The entourage were piped into Galashiels town centre by the town’s ex-service pipe Band, with the Gala town band, boosted by members of Selkirk Silver Band, also performing.

The principals took a moment at the burgh chambers to drink from a stirrup cup, courtesy of Gala YM.

The horses and riders then completed a tour of the town centre before the celebrations continued at the Royal British Legion in Galashiels, where the Gala Souters’ Association dinner took place.

There, Craig was presented with his spurs by Gala Souters’ chairman George Emond.