Eight Borders towns are uniting in the largest ever enactment of the Borderers Return.
Riders from each town will carry a special banner in a relay, between Thursday, September 5, and Sunday, September 8, commemorating the Borders men who fell at the battle of Flodden 500 years ago, and those who returned to their towns with news of the Scottish defeat.
THURSDAY September 5
The Borderers Return will begin at 7.45am at the Flodden Memorial where the minister of Coldstream Parish Church will bless the banner. The proclamation will then be read to riders from Kelso who will then take possession of the banner and set off for Kelso. They will be led by Kelso Pipe Band across the old bridge at 11.50am, arriving in the Square for noon. There will be a short oration about the battle by Alasdair Hutton before the official handover of the banner to the Jedburgh riders. They leave for Jedburgh at 12.30pm. Arriving in Jedburgh, the Callant will ford the River Jed at the Cannongate Ford at 4pm. At 5.15pm the banner will be paraded from The Pleasance up the High Street to the Abbey where a short ceremony will take place. A dinner has been organised for the evening which will be held in The Pheasant.
FRIDAY September 6
The Callant and his supporters will leave the Abbey at 9am for Southdean where the handover of the banner to Hawick will take place at 11.15am. The horses are due to arrive in Hawick at 2.45pm. There will be a foot procession along Hawick High Street, led by the Cornet carrying the banner. At Towerknowe the banner will be passed to the senior acting magistrate who will then present it to the provost on the steps of St Mary’s Kirk. A short oration will be given by the Reverend Michael Scoular before the banner is carried to the Town Hall. A concert has been organised in the Town Hall that evening.
SATURDAY September 7
At 6.30am, accompanied by this year’s principals, the Hawick High School head and deputy head boys and girls will carry the flag along the High Street, via Sandbed, to the top of Wilton Path where the proclamation will be read by the provost and the banner handed to the Selkirk riders by the acting senior magistrate. The banner will leave for Selkirk at 7am, arriving at the Victoria Halls at 10.15am, via The Loan, Kirk Wynd and Market Place. At the Victoria Halls a short ceremony will take place and the senior burgh officer will read the proclamation to the Galashiels riders. The banner will leave Selkirk for Galashiels at 10.30am. The riders will arrive at Galafoot 12.15am before proceeding to Bank Street Gardens where a short ceremony will take place at 12.30pm. The proclamation will be read to the Melrose riders by Andrew Johnson, president of the Braw Lads’ Gathering. Wreaths will be laid at the war memorial. Entertainment will be provided by Gala Ex-Services Pipe Band, Galashiels Town Band and Langlee Community Choir. The banner will leave for Melrose at 1pm, arriving in the Market Square at 3pm. The pipe band then leads a parade, and the banner and riders will be welcomed by Provost William Windram. Primary schoolchildren then perform the Ribbon Dance and the Festival Queen busses the banner with Melrose ribbon. There will be a short overview of the Battle of Flodden by a local historian, followed by a minute’s silence and a lament. The proclamation will be read by the Melrose Festival chairman and the banner handed over to Lauder riders at 3.30pm. Arriving in Lauder at 6pm, the Banner will be passed to the chairman of Lauder Common Riding Committee at the Tolbooth steps before a piper accompanies the riders into the town. A concert has been organised to start at 7.30pm in the Public Hall.
SUNDAY September 8
The proclamation will be read and the banner handed over to the Duns riders at 7am. Arriving in the Berwickshire town at 1.30pm, the banner will be paraded to the Market Square by Duns Pipe Band. A short ceremony will be held at the Market Cross by the Reverend Steven Blaikie. The proclamation will then be read and the banner passed to the Coldstream Riders who are to be led out the Market Square by Duns Pipe Band at 2pm. The banner will pass through Swinton where the Flodden Bell will be rung before arriving in Coldstream at 5pm. The banner will be paraded along the High Street by Coldstream Pipe Band and members of the 1513 Club, arriving on the Tweed Green at 5.20pm. A short service of remembrance will be held at the Flodden 1513 Club Memorial, led by the Reverend David Tavener. During this service the Last Post and lament will be played, and the Borderers Return and Flodden 1513 Club banners lowered in respect. At 8pm in the Community Centre, there will be a performance of “Soddin Flodden”.