Yetholm Riding of the Marches

Where: Yetholm, Borders starting at The Haugh at Town Yetholm and ending at Kirk Yetholm
When: Wednesday in mid June
Time: 5.30 pm to 8.45 pm approx (depending on weather, numbers involved and other variables)


Yetholm Riding of the Marches

Yetholm is perhaps the smallest community in the borders to host a traditional Common Riding as part of their annual Festival Week. Common Ridings are boundary marking customs on horseback; they are mainly held at locations across the Scottish Borders, perhaps because this area suffered from centuries of raiding and reiving between local families and the English, and the locals needed to protect their lands from encroachment. The Yetholm custom is believed to have its origins way back in the thirteenth century. On the Wednesday evening of Festival Week the cavalcade of over 100 equestrians, led by Principals Bari Gadgi and Bari Manushi, take a three-and-a-half hour round trip to the Stob Stanes, standing stones on the hilltop near the border with England, where according to tradition Gypsy Kings were crowned in days gone by. Yetholm has strong ties with the gypsy community and the names of the Principals mean “Best Boy” and “Best Girl” in the Romany language. The festival colours are yellow and green and the Gadgi and Manushi wear sashes to match. There are many other events during festival week such as sports and games, music and dancing.

Helpful Hints

The Festival is always held in mid June though exact datings vary a little from one year to another; it’s always completed by the 21st and the Ride is always on the Wednesday evening. In 2017 the Festival was held from Sunday 11th to Saturday 17th of June with the Ride on Wednesday 14th – 2018 dates are yet to be announced.

Click here for the Festival Facebook page:

And here for the village website:

Thanks to Gavin Stenhouse for the headline photo and Susan Stewart for checking my facts!

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