Hundreds of walkers joined Richmond Town Council this week to observe the ancient tradition of the Septennial Boundary Riding.
Around 600 people, ranging from babies to 80 year olds, turned up at the Town Hall at 8.30am on Wednesday morning to walk the 15 miles around Richmond's boundary.
The tradition goes back to the Royal Charter given to the town by Elizabeth I in 1576 and is also confirmed under the Charter of Charles II 1668 that the Mayor, as Lord of the Manor, accompanied by his Councillors, Officers and townspeople should beat the bound of the town every seven years to check that the parish boundaries remained inviolate.
From the Town Hall The Banner Bearer led the procession followed by two Halberdiers, two Sergeants at Mace, the Mayor, Town Clerk and the Pinder, all in civic robes, down to Green Bridge where the Bellman made the first of 18 proclamations. After which new pennies from the Royal Mint were thrown into the crowds.
From Green Bridge the Pinder, who carries an axe to clear the way, led the procession along the side of the River Swale towards the Batts where the Mayor, Councillor Oliver Blease, was carried to the centre of the River Swale to where the boundary ends.
The procession continued on to Olliver Ducket where everyone was able to stop for refreshments. The Pinder, Mr Robert Chandler, who was leading the procession for the fourth time, said: "I first participated in the Boundary Riding in my teens. I have photographs of my father leading the Boundary Riding – when he was originally Pinder he wore a suit and trilby for the walk."
The walk then continued westwards over fields and up to Feldom Moor and towards Deepdale where everyone had lunch.
After lunch the route then took the procession downhill towards the River Swale where the Mayor entered the river again. On the homeward stretch, along the riverbank back into the town, the heavens opened dampening everyone, but not their spirits!
At several points along the route, specially made stiles were put in place by soldiers of the 1 CS Battalion Reme, to enable the procession to traverse high walls and fences. Members of Swaledale Mountain Rescue were also on hand just in case anyone got into any difficulty.
The procession ended back on Green Bridge were everyone who participated received a certificate from the Mayor.