Saturday ride would help to improve turnout

Berwick Riders' Association has responded to concerns about a proposal to stage the Riding of the Bounds on a Saturday from 2017.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 13 February, 2016, 11:00
Ed Swales

The organisation believes the move would increase participation and draw bigger crowds into Berwick.

However, concerns have been raised about the potential departure from the tradition of the May 1 ride-out.

Councillor Georgina Hill said: “I personally don’t have very strong feelings about it but, from the feedback I’ve had, a lot of people feel very strongly about the May 1 date. Somehow, something has to be done to mark that date.”

Ed Swales, of Berwick Riders’ Association, said he understood those concerns and he envisaged a situation where a ceremonial event to mark the ancient bounds of the town still took place on May 1.

He said: “It’s something that needs much more discussion. What happens on May 1 and what happens on the closest Saturday to that date needs to be agreed by all parties across the spectrum, whether it’s riders, freemen, the council, marshals or people on the street .

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“In essence, what we are trying to do is move Berwick from a situation where we have 30 riders taking part on a Tuesday or a Thursday when there’s only a handful of people on the street to watch.

“We’re looking to aim for something like Hawick, Coldstream and Kelso where there are 300 riders and the street is packed and it becomes a huge day for Berwick. That’s why we have been looking at a Saturday to try and achieve that.

“I take the point about continuing to mark May 1 but in a lighter touch way. That is probably the preferable option.

“We’re going to have to explain to these diehards that we’re not going to do the rideout twice.”