Last year’s Hunter and Lass recall the fun and exictement of an honour they will remember forever

Penicuik Hunter and Lass.
Penicuik Hunter and Lass.

Applications for this year’s Penicuik Hunter and Lass close at the end of the month, with local people encouraged to nominate either themselves or others for the prestigious positions.

This year’s week-long town festival takes place on May 20-27, with the Hunter and Lass taking centre stage at events as varied as football, ride-outs and a classic cars show.

Having once been a Hunter himself, Penicuik Hunter and Lass Committee chairman Derek Wilson is encouraging people to get involved this year. He said: “Last year we were struggling a bit but it’s better this year and so far we have got eight nominations in – but we require more.

“I’m chairman now and have been on the committee since I was Hunter in 1986. I have enjoyed the 30 years and made many friends, lifetime friends.

“Representing your town is a great honour and a pleasure and I will never forget my experience as Hunter.

“I hope to still be involved in 30 years’ time.”

Derek is delighted to have an active role in the popular festival, which began in 1936, and sees it as an important part of the town’s heritage.

He said: “It takes up a lot of my time, but the pleasure I get out of it, and the pleasure I have seen the new Hunters and Lasses get out of it, makes it all worth it.

“Tradition is important to any town but especially in Penicuik when we are going through this regeneration with the lottery fund.

“This is our 81st year so we are trying to retain tradition as well.

“We are really trying to get the community to come together.”

Although he couldn’t reveal the full details just yet, Derek was able to give some information about this year’s Hunter and Lass festival.

“Again, we are changing the programme”, he said.

“This year we are making the activities more accessible to younger members of the community. The football will include Penicuik PAYFC so youngsters are involved.

“And we are making the pram race more for kids, with under 16s allowed to take part with adults, for the first time. We are trying to get young people more involved.

“We have a full week of activities and I’m really looking forward to it.

“Penicuik is the very first common race of the summer and everybody follows us.

“It is a big thing. The rest of the Borders towns come up to us as they want to introduce their principle elects.

“I just hope we have a good week.”

He said it would be great to receive some more nominations for Hunter and Lass.

The closing date for this year’s nominations is February 28 and nomination forms are available from

Last year’s Hunter and Lass recall the fun and excitement of an honour they will remember forever.

Penicuik Hunter 2016 - William Brown
After being a follower of the Hunter and Lass parade for several years I decided to take it one step further and put myself forward for Hunter 2016. The interview itself involved me sitting in the middle of a room with the Hunter and Lass-picking committee questioning me from all angles but it was comforting because of the warm vibe everyone gave off.

Hunter and Lass Week arrived swiftly, much to our surprise, and everything went so fast.

We had Penicuik’s Got Talent in the town hall where everyone deserved to win! The family bike ride was next and we somehow managed to avoid the rain to make it a nice day. The ladies football left me helpless because I’m not a football guy nor am I a lady, but Kerry and the girls did us proud. On Tuesday Kerry and I had our first principal ride in Penicuik, which was fast and loud with the sound of the horses feet behind us.

On Wednesday we had the pram race and we ran through the streets dressed as Ghostbusters.

Thursday was a very special day despite the weather. We had the ceremony inside the town hall where Kerry and I were sashed Hunter and Lass 2016. We said our speeches and I read my declaration without a hitch, which was seriously impressive for me. The Ball then followed and Kerry and I were on show at the top table. I had my mother, father and grandmother, who was Lass in 1953, at the table with us. The night was filled with laughter, joy, food and drinks (of which I may have had one too many) and was one of the best nights of the year.

Saturday was the ride of a lifetime.

We rode to the town hall where I gave what was the worst horn blasts I’ve ever done, before going to Penicuik House and doing the complete opposite and blowing the horn for all to hear! It was very special because not only were there 100 or more horses riding the Penicuik streets, my girlfriend and whole family were riding too.

I’d like to thank Kerry for being a brilliant Lass and without her my year would have been so much harder! And of course I would like to thank the Hunter and Lass committee for their generosity and for allowing me to do what must be the most amazing role in Penicuik! Without their tireless support, none if this would be possible.

Penicuik Lass 2016 - Kerry Wilson

Well, what a year it has been! It began on Mother’s Day when I attended a selection interview with the Hunter and Lass committee. It was later that evening when I received a visit from some of the committee to let me know I had been chosen along with William as Hunter. To say I was speechless is putting it mildly but once I had recovered from the shock I was absolutely delighted!

On meeting William for the first time a few days later, it was obvious we were going to get along and have a great summer together.

We were thrown in at the deep end that weekend with our first trip to Annan for their introduction night and had a great night with William displaying his legendary dance moves for the first time, which was a taste of things to come!

Our first riding lesson came soon after and although we both had some riding experience, it was apparent we would need some serious brushing up of the skills. We quickly got into the swing of it with much wobbling and laughter along the way.

Our own introduction disco at the end of March was so well supported by ex Hunter and Lasses and many visiting principals and it was lovely to see so many family and friends sharing it with us.

One of the highlights of my summer was the visits to the local schools, nurseries, day centres and sheltered housing. It was lovely to see the enthusiasm from our hosts, particularly when we arrived with a horse to the children’s playground!

Monday night was ladies football, which was hilarious considering I had never played before! Tuesday night saw us following Colin and Gillian on the midweek ride. The pram race on Wednesday night was great fun, particularly soaking the huge crowds with our water blasters!

Everyone had a fantastic night at the ball with visiting principals from far and wide dancing the night away.

Saturday dawned with beautiful sunshine and having our horses in my garden as we had our champagne and bacon butties was unforgettable. We rode over the Pentlands and were welcomed by Sir Robert and Lady Faye Clerk for a wee tipple and the horn-blowing ceremony. The feeling of leading the horses and parade along the streets is indescribable and one of the proudest moments of my life. The sheer numbers of people cheering and supporting was overwhelming, a truly unique experience.

Thank you to my Hunter William. You have made this year so much fun with your crazy bloopers and have certainly kept me on my toes! Its been an absolute pleasure. I’m already looking forward to supporting the Hunter and Lass for 2017 and wish them the best of luck for what is going to be one of the most exciting times of your life!