There was a warm welcome for the 2017 Peebles Beltane Festival principals when they were announced in the town’s Burgh Hall last Friday night.
Ross and Eilidh Falla were announced as this year’s Cornet-elect and Lass for the summer.
A former pupil of both Kingsland Primary and Peebles High School, Ross previously worked at Haystoun Estate under the 2015 Warden of Neidpath Eric Gilmour, before setting up his own landscape gardening firm in 2010.
Ross has ridden the festival on horseback twice before and now follows closely in the footsteps of his uncle, the 1975 Cornet Michael Falla, and his aunt Alison Falla who was Beltane Queen in 1960.
His parents Margaret and John also boast a strong involvement with the Beltane, with John having been a long-standing member of the Beltane committee and one of the stars of last year’s behind-the-scenes documentary.
Ross became part of his lass Eilidh’s family fancy dress group in 2006 and has been found each Beltane Friday since then, enjoying the parade to the full. During his primary school days he was a penguin, mexican boy, sailor and yeoman.
Cornet-elect’s Lass Eilidh, Ross’s wife of one year, is also keeping the tradition in the family.
Daughter of Robert and Doreen Wilson, her uncle and aunt, Andrew and Joyce Williamson, were Cornet and Lass in 1988, their daughter, Beth – Eilidh’s cousin – was Cornet’s Lass 2015 and her uncle Gordon Wilson was Cornet in 1996.
Eilidh also attended Kingsland and Peebles High School before studying social care at Borders College and going on to work at Hay Lodge and Dunwhinny, before taking up her current post at an elderly day care centre in Newtongrange.
Eildh is a keen horse rider and has ridden the Beltane Wednesday as well as a number of other Border Festivals behind cousin Beth when she was Cornet’s Lass.
At school she was, amongst others, an Austrian girl and one of the baillies, and has been taking part in the Beltane Fancy Dress since she was three-years-old.
Also announced at last Friday’s introduction night were the supporting principals. Lawyer and keen golfer David Kilshaw OBE will be Boundary Reader; bricklayer, barman and sports clubs volunteer Alan Duncan will be the Warden of Neidpath; and Peebles High School teacher Jan Gordon will serve as the Crowning Lady. Rev Calum Macdougall of the Old Parish Church will return for the third time as Warden of the Cross Kirk.
Beltane chairman Keith Brunton congratulated the new principals and wished each a successful year in office.