The end of May marks the beginning of the Borders' Common Riding Festivals - the first and the largest being Hawick's, where horse-back events would have been starting this week.

This year, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has stopped any physical ride-outs and celebrations from taking place this year.

Instead organisers have set up a virtual Common Riding for people to watch online from home, including talks and performances beginning on Thursday evening.

The last time the ridings were cancelled was 2001 due to the foot and mouth outbreak but some ceremonies still took place. Before then there was an unbroken line of cornets since the Second World War.

Hawick Common Riding, 2014. Credit: PA

Councillor Stuart Marshall, of Hawick and Denholm, said: "Common riding is a huge, huge part of our fabric of Hawick, it brings so many people into the town, it's very historical, we live and breath the common riding all year round and it's come through many adverse times.

"It's stood the test of time and I've no doubt we will be back proper next year and welcoming people from all over the world."

For the first time in the event's history ride-outs and ceremonies that usually attract hundreds of people will be replaced with online concerts streamed throughout the month.

  • John Hogg, Common Riding Chairman and Ex-Cornet.

John Hogg, the Common Riding Chairman and ex-cornet, said:"Obviously, we'd love to have the common riding as normal we'd love to hear the clattering of hoofs but obviously the way these virtual concerts have come along it's been great fun.

"But the common riding will always be important to Hawick it's a big part of, it's been here for hundreds of years as everyone knows and we can't let it fall away without making an effort of some kind and we felt this was the best way of doing it."

Virtual performances and talks will take place online this year. Credit: Hawick Common Riding

The concerts will consist of speeches and performances, with some famous faces joining the fun, as well as songs by musicians and singers from the town.

Hawick's streets might remain quiet but inside homes, what's predicted to be thousands of people from Hawick and beyond, will be able to enjoy common riding events just from their sofa instead of the saddle or the side lines.