The bunting is fluttering above Lanark’s streets, the dresses and costumes to be worn by the Queen and courtiers are in the shop windows, and Lanark’s 2016 Lanimer celebrations get underway this Sunday.
The main week always begins with the Kirkin’ of the man who will be Lord Cornet and on Sunday, in a procession led by the pipe band, Gordon Jess will make his way down to St Nicholas Church.
Gordon, a driving instructor, has a long involvement in the Lanimer celebrations, putting out his first lorry in 1997, and running many charity events to raise funds.
On Sunday he with current Lord Cornet Gordon Gray, former Cornets and local dignitaries will leave the Memorial Hall at 11.40am for the Kirkin’ service at noon.
But it is on Monday night that Lanark’s historic celebrations get going in earnest, with the Perambulation of the Marches.
Traditionalist claim that goes back to 1140, and a charter granted by King David creating Lanark a Royal Burgh, with a condition that its Marches - or boundaries - had to be checked each year. Throughout recorded history they have been, with a man chosen as the Burgh’s standard-bearer each year to carry out the task.
Now hundreds, if not thousands, of townspeople will fall in behind his party when it leaves Hope Street at 6pm, heading along Waterloo Road and down the Stay Brae to collect their birks (everyone), jump in the Mouse (young folk) and actually visit the March stones (virtually only the Cornet and Cornet-elect!).
From 7.15pm Celia Orr dancers entertain at the Cross, and the Silver Club draw for five prizes of £1000 takes place, and then the Cornet and his party ride down the High Street ready for the Shifting of the Standard, which takes place after 8pm. The 2015 Lord Cornet Gordon Gray will return the Burgh Standard “unsullied and unstained” to be passed to Gordon Jess, who will be sashed by Grace Abernethy.
The celebrations continue on Tuesday evening sith the official Lanimer Ride-Out, the horses leaving the Cross at 4.30pm and heading for the Racecourse for the traditional races. The riders then head down to New Lanark, arriving around 8pm for a welcome from the village, and a presentation of a Loving Cup to Lanimer Queen-elect Morgan Shillan.
Everyone then has the chance to draw breath before Lanimer Day on Thursday.