Whipman celebrations play on

Whipman Play 2011, West Linton'The Linton Whipman, Robert Dow
Whipman Play 2011, West Linton'The Linton Whipman, Robert Dow
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THE Whipman Play at West Linton is under way with good crowds enjoying the civic celebrations so far.

Whipman Robert Dow and Whipman’s Lass Sophie Elliot were formally sashed in the Friday evening sunshine. And on Saturday they led more than 90 followers on the week’s rideout.

Whipman Play 2011, West Linton'The Linton Whitman, Robert Dow'The Whipman's Lass, Sophie Elliot'Right Hand Supporters, Ross Nicol, Fiona Bennie'Left Hand Supporters, Tommy Davidson, Angela Edwards

Whipman Play 2011, West Linton'The Linton Whitman, Robert Dow'The Whipman's Lass, Sophie Elliot'Right Hand Supporters, Ross Nicol, Fiona Bennie'Left Hand Supporters, Tommy Davidson, Angela Edwards

Robert said: “It’s been a really good start to the week. The weather has been quite kind to us and people seem pleased so far.”

President Raymond Nicol, the father of last year’s Whipman Ross, welcomed everyone to the special installation evening on the village green on Friday when Ross returned the flag and Barony Herald Lewis Willacy read the proclamation before President Nicol sashed the 2011 principals and presented Robert with the flag which Sophie bussed.

Robert said: “It was fantastic, really good on Friday. We couldn’t have asked for a better day for the Installation – blue sky, really warm and everybody was out on the green, there was a brilliant turnout. “

The weather changed tack for Saturday, but remained dry as keen horse riders followed the young civic heads on a changed rideout route which saw the cavalcade leave West Linton the way they have returned in previous years.

Whipman Play 2011, West Linton

Whipman Play 2011, West Linton

There were 91 followers and no serious accidents.

Robert said: “Saturday was cooler, but perfect for the rideout, clear and dry, it was ideal for the horses. There was a good turnout, the best for a few years, and it was a good sociable ride. Organisers changed the route to freshen it up a bit and I think it was really good. People said it was one of the best rideouts they had done for a while.”

The 25-year-old is hard-pressed to pin down one highlight of the festival week so far.

He said: “The installation was pretty special, as was riding through the village that night with the flag because it was such a nice night. The number of people who followed the procession round was just incredible.

“The rideout was great too. I took a crash course of lessons and did the Penicuik ride last week as a warm-up. Saturday’s ride-out was just fantastic – everybody was in good form and had such a laugh.

“It’s been really, really good so far – and pretty hectic!”

The sports-loving young farmer works with his parents Wallace and Nancy on the family beef and sheep farm, Dovecot, at Romanno Bridge, and he was previously Barony Herald in 1997, while his sister Fiona was the Whipmans Lass in 1998.

“Both of us are part of the Whipman Play, we’ve got our names in history now, “ he said.

And Lass Sophie, 23, is a former Beltane Queen (1999), who runs her own business, with The Pampered Chef.

The fun of the week continues. Last night was the popular wheelbarrow race and pillow fight. Today those joining in the festivities will be attending a junior disco while there will also be a friendly cricket match. Tomorrow brings the Ex-Whipmans Dinner Dance in the festival marquee and Saturday is sports day which will be opened by Robert and Sophie. There will be cream teas, market stalls, music, stalls and side-shows.

Saturday also brings the seven-a-side hockey competition and the Whipman Procession, when Robert will lay a wreath at the village war memorial.

Presenting Lady Marjorie Stevenson and Lass Sophie will present the week’s cups and trophies that evening.

On Sunday there is the Whipman Songs of Praise and barbecue.