ALL ride-outs in the lead-up to Langholm Common Riding have been cancelled.
The Castle Craigs Club has reaffirmed its position, which it has stated previously, that no events associated with the club will go ahead.
This is because of the restrictions put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and it is in line with similar events in the region.
The club has neither bought insurance nor sought permission from any landowners to cross their land during this summer.
Anyone riding, running or walking those routes on what would normally be club days will be doing so entirely of their own volition and totally independent of the Castle Craigs Club.
Iain Lindsley, club president, said: “We have been asked a number of times now why we made the decision we did and would it not have been possible to have waited a while longer.
“Our response, although written at least two months ago, spells out how we reached the decision and why we cancelled at that time.
“Several different factors came into play in our decision-making.
“As much as we would have liked to have waited, we didn’t really have any other option.
“We need to have insurance, which isn’t cheap, in place for all our ride-outs. If we had paid this and cancelled, it would been detrimental to club finances.
“There is the task of liaising with the police and applying for road closures, all of which takes time to put in place and needs to be done well in advance of the ride-outs, even though it’s the same, near enough, year on year.
“We also rely on the goodwill and kindness of every landowner who lets us cross their ground.
“At such a time as this, which must be worrying for them all, I’m sure the Castle Craigs Club just isn’t a priority and any approach to them at this time just wouldn’t be appropriate.
“Although many folk have their own horses, we would have had few, if any, hirers supplying horses because of other Common Ridings and Borders festivals being cancelled before us.
“There is also the issue of the working parties who check the routes and carry out work where it’s needed to improve the routes for the safety of the horses and riders.
“At the end of the day, the club exists to “foster the spirit of the Common Riding” and provide events and ride-outs for all ages and abilities. It is central to everything we do.
“In conjunction with this is our support for the Cornet from the night he is elected to attending our AGM and fulfilling his duties in Langholm and around the region to the last Friday in July and beyond.
“He should never be, and I hope he is not, in any doubt we are with him every step of the way and will do everything we can to make it the most memorable time of his life.
“For me, personally, and I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that having no Cornet elected this year is gut-wrenching not only for the club but also for the town, its exiles and friends all over the globe.
“Our ride-outs are led by our Cornet so any ride-out organised by the club without the Cornet leading it, just wouldn’t be right.
“If this craziness abates and the Common Riding members can organise something nearer the time, I’m sure we, like everyone else, will give them our full support.
“But for ourselves, time was not on our side for what we need to do for our events and, as much as it goes against everything we want to do, we had to cancel.
“It wasnt an easy decision to come to terms with but we couldn’t let our hearts rule our heads and we have to stand by the decision we have made.
“I have said it before and will continue to say it. The health and well-being of our riders and supporters must be paramount to any decision we make.
“God willing, we will be rid of this virus and have all our events next year.
“Right now, our priority must be to get us all through this to the time when we can ride, eat, sing, drink and be together again.”