The Whipman Play Society

The Whipman is an annual summer festival held in the village of West Linton, and is one of the Scottish Borders’ oldest festivals. The festival commences on the Friday before the first Saturday in June, and runs until the following Saturday. The Whipman Play Society was formed in 1803 by local young men to alleviate hardship and illness for its members and in the community at large 42 years before the Poor Law Amendment (Scotland) Act, 1845 and possibly before the first insurance company in Scotland.

A local man is elected to the office of “Whipman” and he chooses a young lady to be his “Lass”. These two represent the 5 Parishes at other Borders festivals throughout their year in office. The celebrations begin with the Installation of the Whipman & Lass, followed by a celebratory ceilidh. The following day, the Ride Out (of around 80 to 100 horses) introduces the Whipman to the area, and a full week of events culminates in the annual sports day, held on the village green.