Annan Riding of the Marches 2015
At 7.15am on Saturday the 4th of July the weather warnings had already been posted for Annan and there were strong winds, heavy showers, thunder and lightning, the arrangements had already been made for the shore crossing from the Black Sheds and it was decided to carry on with our planned route but go slower.
Considering the weather forecast this year's turnout of riders was exceptional with around 144 riders leaving the High Street at 7.30am led by Standard Bearer Connan Johnston and accompanied by Chief Marshal Jim Hodgson, Cornet Kieran Hawrylkiw and Cornet's Lass Alanna Carruthers and their supports, set off down Port Street, Waterfoot Road and on to the shore, because of the stormy conditions around 30 riders opting for the safer road route. The fishermen had found us another good track to canter along the sand and we all pulled up safely and left the shore at Battlehill.
Connan's riding skills were severely put to the test to keep the Burgh Standard flying with the strong wind and extra weight with the rain but he managed to make the usual stirring spectacle watched by many spectators from the old railway viaduct at Seafield. It was then a smoother ride over Peggy's Burn, up past Swordwell, through Woodhead and along to Stapleton for a short hospitality stop provided by the ever generous Logan family.
Next stop at around 9.40am was at the popular Chapelcross runway, and then it was over the heights of Jockstown and for the Official Party the traditional visit to Williamwood where they were introduced to their hosts Michael and Shirley Clarke.
Continuing the ride, they were joined by the rest of the cavalcade at Butcherbeck Bridge and then followed the old track through Mount Annan to Landheads where the traditional snuff was handed round and the boy picked this year to be "skelped" through the Hole in the Hedge ceremony by Stuart Thomson was Nathan Nicholson.
The Everholm was then inspected and to everyone's surprise the chase course was found to be still in good condition and the ropes and tapes were quickly erected while the ride continued through Guillilands and Northfield to the Everholm for the Chases.
The first chase was the Juvenile and the winner was Isla Cooper, the junior winner was Annalise Jeffrey, the Cornets Lasses winner was Margaret Kane, the Cornet's Chase winner was Adie Kane and the Open Chase went to a youthful Nathan Mills from Selkirk.
Then it was up the hill through Springfield to pick up the lead rein riders for the parade start at Newington Roundabout at 12.40.
The female and male best turned out riders on the High Street at 7.15am was judged, this year, to be Olivia McQueen and Frank Johnstone from Annan.
A special thanks to all riders for braving the elements and joining our boundary ride this year, we had two riders with kicked shins but luckily the x rays showed no breaks. A special thanks to all my Marchriding Committee members, first aiders, other helpers, the land owners and the council for letting us over their ground.
After the large turnout of riders the Grand parade was led by the 2015 Queen of the Border Miss Elli Kirkpatrick led another well supported, colourful parade with a display of 16 decorated floats and around 50 children in fancy dress. A list of parade winners can be found on the right.
The combination of the large crowds that turned out to view the parade at 1.00pm and the now dry weather meant there was a good attendance at the "Afternoon at the Academy", held this year for the first time, on the Annan Academy car park from 2.00pm. This year’s entertainment included Van Buren Magic, Bruce Airhead and Lemon Grass. There was also the Fair at the John Bell field, the hotly contested Children’s Sports competitions at 2.30pm on the sports field and of course the keenly contested annual Pipe Band competitions consisting of bands from all over the UK.
At 5.50 pm the handing back of the Standard ceremony and presentation of trophies took place. A list of awards can be found on the right.
The spectacular sight and sound of the massed pipe bands marching up the High Street, and Leona Evans singing Caledonia and Auld Lang Syne ended another successful Riding of the Marches day.
The 2015 parade winners
The Pride of Procession Shield: ET Productions with their theme of "Alice in Wonderland," they were also judged the most humorous and were popular with the crowds.
The Rotary Cup for the most original float: The Cummertrees Youth Club with their "Old McCambell’s Farm"
Lower Annandale Trophy for the most topical float: Annan and District Day Centre their theme "Robin Hood and his Merry Men".
The Best Small Vehicle: The Brig Inn with Thomas and Friends.
The Annandale Distillery Trophy: went to Jack Cowan of the Royal Burgh of Annan Pipe Band
The 2015 Pipeband Contest
The Grade 2 BNFL Cup: The Northumbrian Regiment Pipe Band, with The Royal Burgh of Annan in 3rd place.
The Grade 3 P/M Callum Beck Memorial Trophy: Lochmaben Royal Burgh.
The Grade 4 McCubbin Shield: Hawick Pipe band.
The Best Adult Pipe Major: Graham Wilson of Craigmount Caledonian
The Best Dressed Juvenile: Lewis Bell, Royal Burgh of Annan.
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