| Galashiels Braw Lad's Gathering
At the crack of dawn on Saturday morning our young Principals
gather for breakfast with the President of the Gathering and
members of the Ceremonial Committee before they arrive at
the Burgh Chambers for the start of the Braw Lads' Day.
At 8.00 am the Braw Lad receives the Burgh Flag from the
President of the Gathering and vows to return it 'Unsullied
and Untarnished' at 12 noon. The Braw Lad then leads the mounted
cavalcade to Netherdale for the ceremony at the Raid Stane.
When they arrive, each Lass presents her Braw Lad with a
sprig of Sour Plum from the surrounding trees. This is in
commemoration of the affray in 1337, when a band of English
soldiers where routed by the men of Gala when they were eating
the sour plums. It is alleged that the river ran red with
blood for three days and nights.
The Official cavalcade then ford the River Tweed at the
old Abbots' Ford, split from the main cavalcade and proceed
to Abbotsford House.
In the meantime the Main Cavalcade has started to ride the
The Officials meet up with the main cavalcade and once again
the Braw Lad leads his party back across the River Tweed and
onwards to the Auld Town Cross for the Mixing of the Roses.
This ceremony commemorates the marriage of Margaret Tudor
of England to King James the Fourth of Scotland in 1503 when
Margaret was given the Ettrick Forrest as her dowry and as
such the red and white roses are mixed by the Braw Lass in
a moving ceremony at the Auld Town Cross to re-enact the act
The Official Party leave the platform and are replaced by
officials of the Executive Council and the President of the
Braw Lads' Gathering who meet the Laird of Gala and exchange
a parchment marking the election of the town to Burgh of Barony
status in 1599.
The Official Party now proceed to the home of the Laird
of Gala where the Braw Lad, Braw Lass and their Attendants
are meet and entertained by the Laird and his family. They
then rejoin the main cavalcade and proceed up Scott Street
heading towards the War Memorial, where only the Braw Lad
Still carrying the flag, at the stroke of twelve, the Braw
Lad dips the Burgh Flag and a period of silence is observed
to show respect to the fallen of the two World Wars.
The Official Party then return to the Burgh Chambers to receive
the cheers of the mass crowds for a job well done and to return
the Burgh Flag to the President of the Braw Lads' Gathering.
At 8 p.m. there is a small dignified ceremony where the
Braw Lass lays her mixed roses at the War Memorial after which
they return to the Volunteer Hall where the Un-Sashing Ceremony
Sunday evening brings this years Gathering to a close with
a service at Gala Isle and usually starts the organisation
for next years Braw Lads' Gathering.
Next: The Braw Lads'