Large turnout expected for Berwick's Riding of the Bounds

Around 100 horses and riders are expected to take part in the 410th staging of Berwick’s Riding of the Bounds.

Friday, 26th April 2019, 10:58 am
Updated Friday, 26th April 2019, 11:11 am
Berwick chief marshal Courtnay Grey.

Around 100 horses and riders are expected to take part in the 410th staging of Berwick’s Riding of the Bounds.Chief marshal Courtnay Grey will lead the way alongside right hand man Victoria Irwin, though left hand man Rebecca Tait will be missing because she is pregnant.“It’s so exciting,” said Courtnay. “I can’t wait for our ride and then the rest of the summer.”The 25-year-old mum-of-three plans to take part in 10 common ridings across the Borders, including Yetholm, Kelso, Coldstream and Duns, as well as Edinburgh’s Riding of the Marches.“Berwick’s the first rideout of the season and it’s become much better known across the region,” said Courtnay. “It’s much smaller than the Borders ones but we are growing and last year the street was heaving. The atmosphere was fantastic.”Berwick Riders Association, which organises the event, anticipates there could be 100 horses and riders turning out on May 4 – the most since the 400th staging of the event.“It depends on the weather and the ground conditions but there’s no doubt the move to holding it on a Saturday has made a big difference,” said Courtnay.Until 2017, the 15-mile patrol around the town’s ancient boundaries was always held on May 1.Courtnay, from Highcliffe in Spittal, fell in love with horses at an early age, despite having no family links to them.“I remember walking along the beach with my aunt and the dogs at Goswick one day and we saw some horses galloping towards us and I wanted to have a go,” she recalls.“I started doing the Riding of the Bounds when I was 12 and have done it every year apart from when I was having babies!”Her children Oden, six, Jaxon, four and Iva, one, will be watching from the sidelines on the big day while her partner, Liam, will be part of the cavalcade, having taken up riding two years ago.Courtnay has decided not to ride either of her horses, Jess and Polly, at this year’s event.“One of them would lead but wouldn’t carry the flag while one would carry the flag but wouldn’t lead,” said Courtnay.Instead, she is hiring a horse called Paris from Saint Foin Riding Stables in Birgham.“Hiring for the day actually makes it 10 times easier,” said Courtnay.“He’s also very experienced so it will be great.“I’m particularly pleased that more of the route is off-road this year.”The main sponsor is Simpsons Malt.Meanwhile, local shops and businesses are being encouraged to take part in the increasingly popular window dressing competition.Participants are asked to decorate their windows a week or so before the Riding of the Bounds and leave it up until after the ride.They can decorate it however they like as long as it promotes a historical ride in some way, either with a horse theme and/or with our Berwick colours of red and royal blue.Last year Vintage upon Tweed took the trophy.Register your business either by email to [email protected] or via the Berwick Riders Association facebook page. Judging will take place on Sunday, April 28.