Every summer the towns of the Scottish Borders stage the Common Ridings, one of the oldest equestrian festivals in the world. The ridings aren’t just an unforgettable spectacle of horsemanship, pageantry and community spirit. They are a custom upheld with real fervour by locals in homage to the region’s unique identity, shaped in part by its tumultuous past.

One of Britain's best kept secrets. An equestrian festival that combines the thrills of Pamplona's Fiesta de San Fermin with the concentrated drinking of Munich's Oktoberfest.

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Deep roots

The history of the Scottish Borders is deeply entwined with the turbulent era of the Borders Reivers; the name given to the ruthless raiders and bandits who 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.

Proud tradition

Today’s colourful events take places in 11 of the region’s towns, with Hawick, Selkirk, Langholm and Lauder laying claim to the oldest ridings. Each town has its own particular take on the tradition – some can last for up to two weeks – but they usually involve lots of rideouts, barbecues, traditional sports, games, music and traditional tipples.

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