Proud Steven leads way on a week to remember

The Coldstreamer Steven Bell presents Hamish Stenhouse (age 6 years) with the Tweeddale Press Cup for the youngest rider to Flodden, not on a lead rein
The Coldstreamer Steven Bell presents Hamish Stenhouse (age 6 years) with the Tweeddale Press Cup for the youngest rider to Flodden, not on a lead rein

IT would be fair to say that this year’s Coldstream Civic Week wasn’t blessed with the finest weather, but organisers, participants and spectators are in firm agreement that it was still a very successful one.

The weather was glorious for the start of the annual event on Saturday, July 31, when the 2011 Coldstreamer, Steven Bell was sashed in Henderson Park and this continued into Monday when a cavalcade of riders rode the short distance over the border to Norham where they were greeted by many well wishers.

And the weather wasn’t too bad for the riders and horses, both young and old, who completed the annual journey to Birgham on Wednesday evening.

But unfortunately, the heavens opened on Thursday and although things weren’t quite as bad as three years ago when riders camping on the Tweed Green had their tents completely flooded and belongings washed away, it was certainly a wet ride out to Flodden for the close to 300 brave riders, led by Steven, his left hand man Ricky Hope and right hand man Liam Wallis.

Typically, the persistant rain which made the ground slippy under foot a day earlier disappeared on Friday and those who got on their horses and rode to Leitholm were treated to much better weather.

All the rides are of course co-ordinated by the Coldstream Riding Association and member Christopher Burgess said he was pleased that they had all gone ahead in spite of the varying conditions.

“The Riders Association felt that once again things went very well and it was another great Civic Week,” he said.

“Attendances on the ride outs were impressive - the number of riders who went to Norham went up 14 to 54 this year and numbers to Birgham also went up 10 per cent putting them in the 40-50 bracket.

“Everything was perfect for the ride to Norham and there were more people than usual ready to give us a welcome when we got there.

“The ride out to Birgham was hampered a bit by the fact we had fewer fields to take but it was great to see a few youngsters turnout again.

“As expected with all the rain we had, the number of participants in the Flodden Ride was down from 320 to 276, although that is still a fantastic turnout in the worst possible weather and I would say there was the usual amount of cars up at Branxton Hill to welcome the riders.”

All that took part in the poignant trip to and from Flodden were happy to be in the veritable warmth of a marquee in Home Park for the annual Civic Week Ball which went on into the wee small hours.

It wasn’t just on Flodden Day that the rain bucketed down. Saturday’s Fancy Dress Parade was a damp occasion for all involved although an array of interesting costumes still managed to make it along the high street. Thankfully, one of the other highlight’s of the week, Friday’s Torchlight Procession wasn’t spoilt and many followed the principals on the annual walk through the town.