The Royal Burgh of Lanark Crest
Lanark Lanimers - One of Scotland's Oldest Traditions Lanimer Mascot - Larry Lanimer Mascot - Bonnie

An ancient celebration held within the Royal Burgh of Lanark on the Thursday between the Sixth and Twelfth days of June annually since the year 1140.

Sleeping Beauty and the Wallace Shield

There's a place called New Lanark on the banks of the Clyde;
A snug little village where I used to bide.
Though far I may wander, my thoughts will aye stray,
To that bonny wee place at the foot of the brae.

Fifty years ago, I was ten, and at New Lanark Primary. One day the headteacher, Miss Mary Henderson, told me that I'd be Sleeping Beauty in the Lanimers. I went home and told my mum. The look on her face said, 'The first bit's easy, but well have to work on the 'beauty' thing." She did say, That's fine. Mrs Aikman will make your dress and Willie Gibson will make you a cardboard crown." That's what happened in these days. You were told what you would be. Over the years Mrs Aikman made me a rabbit, a butterfly, a fairy... I had pins stuck into me over these years, and we hadn't heard of acupuncture!

In 1957, on Lanimer Eve, I suffered what I now regard as 'ringlet torture'; hair washed, combed and twisted up in bobby pins. My mum was an expert, as was Aunt Liza (ask my cousins, Morag, Lorna and Beth. They suffered for years, too.)

I was awakened very early on Lanimer morning, put into the dress with the ermine trim (cotton wool and black stitches), and cardboard crown. Then I was hauled up the road from New Lanark to Hospitland Drive, for eight o' clock, the middle of the night for me. It was worth it, though. A Lanimer participant since 1951, this was the first time I didn't have to walk. When mum and I reached the lorry there was an enormous bed of white satin, with a canopy, and silver spiders' webs - just for me. They didn't have to ask twice, as I climbed aboard. Marjorie Orr was Prince Charming and Sandra Steele was the queen. We won First Prize. I was supposed to pretend I was asleep. Knowing me, I probably was sleeping.

We moved off down St Leonard Street. I still couldn't believe I didn't have to walk. At the age of ten, this was a luxury. I made the most of it. It wasn't likely to happen again. We were taken off the lorry at the Cross, and directed to the stand to await the Lanimer Queen, Rita Mann. She looked lovely. We all cheered as she was escorted up the steps to her throne. It brought back memories of 1955, when my cousin, Lorna, was crowned.

After the Crowning we made our way to Lanark Grammar Primary School in Hyndford Road, where I got my medal from the Lanimer Queen. I went home for lunch and then went to the shows at the Bus Stance. There was then time for some tea, and then I had to put on my costume again, for the Reception in the Memorial Hall.

We were kept in order by Willie Wilson, who also worked the curtains. We filed across the stage to bow to the queen. When it was our turn I was presented with the Wallace Shield, because we had been awarded First Prize. I remember I nearly dropped it on the first night. It was heavier than I expected. I was ready on the Friday and Saturday nights (the Reception ran for three nights then).

When I think back to these days I feel proud to have been part of the Lanimers. I have lived in Troon for thirty five years, but come back for Lanimer Day. As they say, " You can take the girl out of Lanark, but you can't take Lanark out of the girl."

I wish you all a Happy Lanimers.

Moira (Frood) Gemmill