TRADITIONS were honoured on Wednesday evening at Torwoodlee during a flurry of hurrahs and a warning for the future.

Braw Lad Greg Kelly and Braw Lass Kimberley O’May led a 138-strong cavalcade to the historic estate.

And, as has been the custom for the past 88 years, they were welcomed by the Laird and Lady of Torwoodlee, currently James and Alice Pringle.

Beneath a blazing blue sky the patriotic sound of the bagpipes heralded the beginning of one of the Festival's original and most poignant ceremonies.

Following customary refreshments at Torwodlee House, Greg and Kimberley led dignitaries and the welcoming party to the 417-year-old Torwoodlee Tower.

And within the shade of its impressive ruins, the traditional receiving of the stone and sod took place.

President of the Braw Lads’ Gathering, Bill White, conveyed his gratitude to the Pringle family, and their predecessors.

He said: “It is an integral part of our celebrations.

“There is no better place to be on a Wednesday evening, in the week of the Gathering, than the bonnie woods of Torwoodlee.”

A hearty rendition of Braw Braw Lads as well as The Bonnie Hills o’ Torwoodlee were ably led by the accomplished Galashiels Town Band.

Following the sod and stone being gathered ahead of their prominent role in Saturday's Old Town Cross Ceremony, compliments were paid to the magnificent restoration project recently completed at Torwoodlee Tower.

Mr White added: "It is great to be here at a Tower with so much history and having undergone such a fine restoration.

"It is interesting to see some of the ceremonies that go on and learn more about the history.

"I’ve really dug into the history.”

While the past and its traditions were honoured and celebrated throughout much of Wednesday evening, Mr Pringle used the occasion to sound out a warning to safeguard the future.

The Laird told guests: “With climate change, we are told we’ll have more extremes in our weather and we humans have to become more resilient and to make the changes necessary to curb our carbon emissions.

“Those changes need to be led from the top – by governments at all levels from Europe and the White House down to Newtown St Boswells.

“We all need to have a debate on how much we are willing to put our hands in our pockets to fund our grandchildren’s futures and how much we want to direct our various governments’ spending to avoid depleting their coffers on political stunts like buying islands.

“The future of Scotland’s people and of the planet itself depend on intelligent leadership and it is vital that we achieve that.”

Mr Pringle's stirring words concluded with a traditional message of goodwill to the Principals of the present day.

He added: “I am delighted to see Greg and Kimberley rising to the challenge of representing their town and doing it so well – they represent especially the rising stars of Galashiels whose future we are talking about and who will be leading the charge into that future.

“We now have a proper Scottish summer - who would go abroad when Gala can look so gorgeous?”