ON the hottest day of the year so far, most sane people were taking it easy in the shade with the Sunday papers and a cold drink to hand.

Not the 70-odd riders who took to the hills around Broughton on the third day of the endurance festival that has become a flagship event for the Scottish Endurance Riding Club.

Based at Corstane Farm, the event attracted more than 230 entries from all over Scotland and the north of England.

Starting with a leisurely pleasure ride on Friday evening along the old railway line to Biggar, riders really kicked into gear on Saturday morning.

Classes ranged from 80kms over two days to another two different pleasure routes.

The first set of routes took riders south-west of Broughton towards Coulter Shaw and over the hills affording wonderful views of the Clyde valley. The warm sun was toned down by a strong breeze that made for perfect riding conditions - a marked contrast to 2012 when the weekend event had to be cancelled as both routes and venue were water-logged.

As a complete contrast, a couple of hours in the afternoon were whiled away by riders competing over a Handy Pony course, ably put together at short notice by Claire Garnett, and demonstrating that endurance horses can be very versatile.

In the evening more than 100 people, including several of the farmers who allow access to their land, flocked to the village hall to join in the legendary supper, catered once again by the Crown Hotel in Biggar.

The exertions of the day meant that the riders in the campsite and the corralled horses were all quiet by 11pm, full of turkey, profiteroles and hay, respectively.

On Sunday the routes took riders in the other direction, into the parklands surrounding Stobo Castle and up towards Broughton Heights.

The sun blazed down untempered this time by breezes, and riders and horses were grateful for the watering station sited halfway along the route.

Several team and individual competitions were contested over the weekend, and host branch Lothians were delighted to emerge the winners in the inter-branch Capercaille Challenge.

The two-day 80kms trophy was won by Cumbrian rider Kath McGhee on her veteran horse Foxghylls Folly, a short head in front of local rider Anne Short on Another Chance; the two-day 60kms trophy went to another Cumbrian, Carolyn Cummings and her mare Peterbrook Sunset Surprise.

A huge number of helpers are essential to running this event, but it would not take place at all without the co-operation of all the landowners and farmers along the route, and the club is very appreciative.