Riders turn on the style at Wigtown

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Over 50 horses and riders set out on Saturday afternoon to take part in the 2016 Wigtown Riding of the Marches led by Cornet Martin Wallace and Cornet’s Lass Hannah Burns.

After some beefy showers had thankfully passed, the riders headed out from Bladnoch Park at 1.45pm to arrive in the town for a 2pm start round a six-mile figure-of-eight route round the marches of the burgh.

Heading up to the Merket Cross are Cornet's Lass Hannah Burns, Cornet Martin Wallace and Ensign Mhairi McConnell

Heading up to the Merket Cross are Cornet's Lass Hannah Burns, Cornet Martin Wallace and Ensign Mhairi McConnell

Mid Galloway Councillor Jim McColm handed over a letter of instruction to Cornet Martin to retrace the steps of his Gallovidian ancestors and go out and check the borders for invaders from other parishes. Jim then handed the stunning burgh flag to Ensign Mhairi McConnell, who, riding the trusty and handsome Shane, trotted off with the skirl of the bagpipes hanging in the air, to lead the mass of riders down North Main Street. To the clip-clop echo of 200 shiny hooves trotting, the riders turned left down New Road and out into the country side.

After heading out as far as East Kirkland, the riders turned back towards the town. Turning at the bottom of the Ballgreen hill, the leaders upped the pace to a fast trot which didn’t stop until they had clattered through the town centre and winged their way down Agnew Crescent. There were cheers and shouts as the riders rattled through the wide main street with the flag flapping in the breeze. As the last flying tail disappeared round the corner on the way out the Bladnoch, the rattle of the hooves receded into the distance for twenty minutes till it gradually grew louder again and the posse returned from the south side to tour up and down the streets of the County town before finally rattling up South Main Street to come to a stop and a welcome stirrup cup.

Former Cornet’s Lass from 1959, Elsie Forsyth, and her sister Margaret Ramsay, judged Kirsty Fisher the best turned out junior and Vicki Harris the best turned out senior.