Common Riding, Langholm
Every last Friday in July is the Common Riding in Langholm. The festival dates back to the 1700s when rights to common lands were awarded to the burgh of Langholm – although it takes place on the date of an earlier fair. These lands were marked out by ditches cairns and beacons, which originally fell to the responsibility of one man. The duty eventually passed to a local landlord who rode out on horseback with other townsfolk, this was the start of the Common Riding, and from then until the present time a Cornet has been elected from Langholm to be the master of the riding. The ceremony eventually became a fair.
The horsemen hold aloft several different symbols as they ride through town. These are:
A spade, used for cutting pits, and digging turf that marked part of the common boundary.
A salted herring nailed to a bannock on a wooden plaque.
A Scottish thistle, the symbol of Scotland.
A floral crown, the meaning of which is obscure.
Directions: On the A7 from Carlisle.