The rain spat in Galashiels and Melrose on Tuesday, but it didn’t matter to the parading soldiers of 1SCOTS, the Royal Scots Borderers - they were home, safe from six months in the desert.
Nor did the weather dampen the cheering crowds lining the streets to welcome their sons, fathers, and even strangers, back from danger in Afghanistan.
The first Borders faces the soldiers saw, as they marched in desert boots shouldering rifles and swords behind the pipes and drums and mascot Shetland pony Cruachan IV, were over a hundred schoolchildren from Langlee Primary School.
24-year-old Lance Corporal Fraser Pairman from Kelso was chuffed to see his mum amid the crowd. “It’s good to see everybody out supporting the guys, and it’s good to be finally home,” he said.
“We were mentoring the Afghan local police so they are ready to take over their own district and get on with the job themselves. We saw a lot of progress from the time we came to the time we left.
“This tour to Afghanistan was a lot quieter than the first time in 2012, and the threat was a lot lower. There was a wee bit of threat from green on blue, as in the Afghans trying to get to us instead of the Taliban, but overall it was a safe tour, and we got everybody back, which is the main thing.”
A new 18-track CD, When Duty Calls, to raise money for injured soldiers who served in Afghanistan, and featuring company tunes by 1SCOTS pipes and drums and the Fijian choir, is on sale for £10 at Walk This Way army surplus store in Coldstream Turnbull’s in Selkirk, Spences in Hawick and Pipers in Galashiels.