Lorraine ready to lead Riding of the Bounds

2015 Chief Marshall of Berwick Lorraine Fiddes with her horse Metzy
2015 Chief Marshall of Berwick Lorraine Fiddes with her horse Metzy

Lorraine Fiddes is well versed in the traditions of the Riding of the Bounds, having taken part in it for more than 25 years.

Tomorrow, however, she will take centre stage when more than 50 horses and riders set out on a 14-mile tour to ensure Berwick’s ancient boundaries are in tact.

“I’m a little nervous but also really excited,” said Lorraine, the 2015 chief marshal.

“I’ve done the Riding of the Bounds many times before so know what to expect but obviously this year is going to be extra special.

“All I’m hoping for now is some good weather - and that I stay on board!”

That should be no hardship for Lorraine who has been riding all her life.

“Horses are pretty much my life,” admitted the former groom. “I got my first pony when I was just nine months old and have been riding ever since.

“I first did the bounds when I was 11 or 12 and have hardly missed one since. It’s a great day and I’m really looking forward to it.”

She won’t be taking her beloved eight-year-old horse Metzy, a cancer survivor, with her though.

“I was tempted but I’ve decided not to take any chances with her,” revealed Lorraine.

“She’s a bit of a nutcase and while I think she could carry the flag, I’m not so sure what she would make of the bagpipes and the large crowds. She might get a little bit scared and that’s the last thing I want so I’ve decided to hire a horse.”

She will therefore be riding Larry, a seasoned veteran who carried Sheriff Michael Richardson last year.

“I’ve had a go on him and I’m sure we’ll be fine,” she said.

“The thing I’m most nervous about is probably receiving the flag from the mayor. I don’t want to drop it.

“Oh, and I have to sing the Bounds song. I know the words but I’m tone deaf. I’m hoping the male voice choirs and children who are going to be there will help me out!”

It will be a real family affair as Lorraine’s mum, Linda, is taking part in the ride for the first time.

“I’ve not done a proper rideout in 30 years but I felt I should be at this one to support my daughter,” she said.

Lorraine’s fiance, Duns garage owner Graeme Stark, will also be helping out en route, while her 15-year-old son, Ashley, has been given the day off by Berwickshire High School.

It promises to be a busy year for Lorraine as she intends to take part in as many of the Border town rideouts as possible.

“I’ll definitely be doing Yetholm, Duns, Flodden and Selkirk and I think Edinburgh will be a cracking ride too.

“I’ll also be at the various sashings and installations wherever possible. I might take Metzy to one of the rideouts and see how she goes. Maybe then I’ll be a bit more confident about taking her on the Riding of the Bounds next year.”

She believes the Riding of the Bounds is an important part of Berwick’s heritage and should be more widely celebrated.

“It’s local history,” she said. “I was brought up in Berwick but it was never mentioned at school. I think it’s a shame more local schoolchildren don’t get to watch it and learn about it.”

Although the Riding of the Bounds started hundreds of years ago to keep out marauding Scots, it is a far more civil affair nowadays.

“I’m living in Berwickshire myself these days and we’ve got principals coming from Penicuik, Duns and Coldstream so there will be a warm welcome for people from both sides of the border!”