Whipman and Lass appointed

Robert Dow and Sophie Elliot.
Robert Dow and Sophie Elliot.

LEADING the festivities at West Linton this year and representing that corner of Peeblesshire across the Borders and the Lothians will be Whipman Robert Dow and Whipman’s Lass Sophie Elliot, writes Bob Burgess.

At the moment they are principals-elect but will assume their full titles during the Whipman Play celebrations at the beginning of June.

Since their appointment they have already visited Musselburgh, Galashiels and Selkirk to see Honest Lads and Lasses, Braw Lads and Braw Lasses and a Royal Burgh Standard Bearer appointed.

It was in 1803 that the Whipmen of West Linton formed an association to improve their lot and the lot of their families.

Over the years the association organised days of festivities which are now enjoyed by the surrounding villages of Dolphinton, Carlops, Kirkurd and Newlands.

The new Whipman is 25 and hails from Romanno Bridge. After Newlands primary and Peebles High Schools he studied sports coaching at Telford College in Edinburgh before attending the Scottish Agricultural College. He now works with his parents Wallace and Nancy on the family farm. Robert was Barony Herald at the Whipman celebrations in 1997 and commented: “I have dreamed of about being the Whipman for as long as I can remember.

“It is a great honour and I can’t wait to visit the other festivals. I cannot thank enough the people who voted for me.”

At his side as Whipman’s Lass will be 23-year-old Sophie Elliot from Peebles. She trained at Napier University in Edinburgh and now runs her own catering business under The Pampered Chef label.

This is her second civic honour – in 1999 she was the Beltane Queen at the festival’s centenary.

This year’s young Barony Herald is go-karting and footballer Lewis Wallacy from Romanno Bridge, while the Flower Girl is five-year-old Cara Craig from West Linton who is a keen swimmer.

The honour of being Presenting Lady goes to the well-known Marjorie Stevenson who moved into the area as a nurse in 1951.

The Whipman and his Lass will be installed on Friday, June 3, and the following day will lead a mounted ride. The remainder of the week is given over to games, competitions and music.