The Braw Lad crossing the water at the Galashiels Braw Lad’s Gathering
Horse riders celebrating the Selkirk Common Riding
Riders returning from the Selkirk marches galloping at the Toll
The Standard Bearer at the Selkirk Common Riding
The towns of the Scottish Borders are home to one of the oldest equestrian festivals in the world – the Return to the Ridings – which pay homage to the region’s tumultuous past and celebrate its unique identity.
The history of the Scottish Borders is deeply entwined with the turbulent era of the Borders Reivers - raiders who ruthlessly pillaged the lands on either side of the Anglo-Scots border from the late 13th to the early 17th century.
Today’s residents commemorate the times when their forbearers patrolled the boundaries of their settlements on horseback, defending against these fearsome marauders at Return to the Ridings throughout the summer.
This spectacular display of horsemanship and community spirit takes place in 11 of the region’s towns, with the oldest ridings belonging to Hawick, Selkirk, Langholm and Lauder. Watch as standard-bearers elected by the townspeople enact ancient ceremonies and experience the exhilaration of seeing magnificent cavalcades of hundreds of riders galloping past amid a flurry of banners.
In some towns, the festivities can last for up to two weeks with a riveting programme of rideouts, barbeques, traditional sports, games and music, all wrapped up in the unforgettable pageantry of Return to the Ridings.