Adam is all set to fly the flag for Selkirk

It was certainly a Hail Smiling Evening on Friday as the sun shone on Selkirk’s 2022 Royal Burgh Standard Bearer, Adam Nichol.

By Kevin Janiak
Monday, 2nd May 2022, 1:16 pm

The 27-year-old was certainly a popular choice, as the large crowd waiting outside the town hall doors at 7pm testified with a massive cheer as the doors opened, no doubt amplified by the two-year hiatus of the town’s beloved Common Riding due to the Covid pandemic.

Souters have always been proud singers of their own, it has to be said, rather catchy songs, and at the Appointment Night Concert, their usual fervour in punching out “Hail Smiling Morn” and “Up Wi The Souters O’ Selkirk” was ramped up a few notches for this year; their enforced silence the previous two years just a memory.

But Friday night was Adam’s.

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He is made for the role … he says he has practised casting the flag in his garden at home since he was a toddler, clearly the man was meant to lead the town's celebrations as well as represent it at other Borders gatherings and festivals.

After being bounced by his attendants on the ceremonial chair through the town to the concert at the Victoria Hall, the landscape gardener told us: “It’s great! It’s been a long time coming, and it was brilliant to see all these people out tonight.

"I’m sure the weather helped, but it’s a great feeling.

"It’s probably been the worst-kept secret ever!

Royal Burgh Standard Bearer Adam Nichol is carried from the Town hall. Photo: Grant Kinghorn.

"I’ve tried to keep it as quiet as possible and it’s been a long two years, but it’s grand to actually be here.”

When asked what his highlight of the forthcoming celebrations will be, he had no hesitation in answering.

He said: “It’s the casting, 100% the casting. It’s the pinnacle and the climax of any Common Riding Day.

"I’ve been practising in my garden since I was three years old, so I’m well practised.”

Souters come out in force to support Adam Nichol, the Standard Bearer for 2022, on Friday night. Photo: Grant Kinghorn.

The Selkirk rugby player said this year would be the 10th time he has ridden the marches, the only difference being this time, he’ll be in front, proudly holding aloft the town colours, helped by his four attendants.

This year is thought to be unique, as all four attendants, as well as the Standard Bearer himself, all have parents who have had experience of casting.

Adam’s actor dad John Nichol is perhaps best known for playing Sir Walter Scott at the town’s Scott’s Selkirk celebrations and courtroom dramas, but he also cast the Merchant Company flag in 1994. Of the attendants, Thomas Bell’s dad was a Weavers standard bearer, and Conall Fairbairn and Fraser Easson’s fathers both cast the colours of the Hammermen. And Thomas Stanners’ father Craig was the Royal Burgh Standard Bearer in 1994.

At the concert in the Victoria Hall, Scott Tomlinson, chairman of the Ex-Standard Bearers Association, welcomed Adam to the ranks.

Royal Burgh Standard Bearer Adam Nichol arrives at the Victoria Hall, carried by his attendants. Photo: Grant Kinghorn.

He told him: “I’ve seen a young attendant grow in stature over the years and now he’s ready to be a leader for the whole toon, on Common Riding Day.

“Selkirk’s historic past is woven in our flags. Cherish the time you get with the Burgh Standard over the coming weeks, and enjoy spending time with the youth and the old of the town, and all the best for Friday, June 17.”

Royal Burgh Standard Bearer Adam Nichol and his partner Eilidh McColm. Photo: Grant Kinghorn.