Hunter’s Lass – Sharon Sloan
I was born in Edinburgh on 2nd July 1970, I am an only child. I was brought up in Balerno where my father was a coach painter and my mother a nurse. I attended Deanpark Primary and went on to Currie and Balerno High Schools. I played hockey at school and went on to play for Edinburgh Ladies. When I left school I trained in various hotels in Edinburgh including the Caledonian and Balmoral. I moved to the Norton House in the early 1990’s where I was front of house manager. I remained there until after I was married. I then moved around due to my husband being posted with the Army. I have four children, both my sons are in the army now, Christopher is a drummer, Daniel is Military Police. My eldest daughter Hannah is at university and my youngest Rebekah, is still at school.
I retrained as a beauty therapist when I returned to Edinburgh and rented a room within a hairdresser after I qualified.
I moved to Penicuik almost 10 years ago when I separated from my husband. I also took on an extra job in the finance industry at this time. I gave up my beauty room as it was too far to travel but continue to do treatment for friends and family. I now also enjoy baking and make celebration novelty cakes.
I met my Hunter Grant at a local class we both attended, we have now been together almost six years of which we have been engaged for five.
We now own three ponies together, two are Shetlands, which we walk round Penicuik regularly to the delight of the residents both young and old. We also involve the Shetlands in community events such as Penicuik in the Park, the Christmas light switch on and we have visited local schools and nurseries. I have always loved horse riding but have not had much opportunity to ride in the last few years but I am looking forward to getting back in the saddle.
We were both nominated for Hunter & Lass by a very good friend, Margaret McKenzie. We were absolutely thrilled that she, being Penicuik born and bred, thought us worthy of such an honourable duty.
I consider Penicuik as home now, and I am so proud and honored to have been picked as Hunter’s Lass 2017 to represent my town along with my Hunter Grant. I look forward to seeing you all in the weeks to come at all the events.
The Hunter’s Lass’ Report
I was told if Grant & I were lucky enough to be picked as Hunter & Lass, we would hit the ground running & not stop until the end of the “Common Riding” season. A truer word was never said!
After a visit from the committee to tell us we were Hunter & Lass 2017, it took a good few days to sink in. But there wasn’t really much time for thinking, even back in March. We were told on the Sunday evening that we had been chosen & within minutes of it being public knowledge, Facebook went wild with friend requests from all over the Lothian’s & Borders.
The Thursday was my first riding lesson in a long time and it showed…… On the Saturday we were off to Annan, which was our first visit to many towns representing Penicuik.
We went to Tower Riding Stables weekly from then on to perfect the art of “Hinging oan”, which was more luck than skill. The end of March brought our own Introduction night. This is a night I can barely remember, no, not because of drink …..So many new faces, names being said, hands being shook it was just a blur but it’s not until mid-summer when you look back & think “Yeah, you were at our intro night”.
Before our week in May, we visited Annan, Berwick, Edinburgh, Coldstream & west Linton to name just a few.
Before we knew it May the 13th was here. We had a great night at the Talent Show, who knew Penicuik was filled with so many gifted kids. The following Saturday was the Bike Ride & the start of “Our” week. Unfortunately the weather was not kind, but it did not deter anyone. We all arrived at Penicuik house triumphant. Nobody really cared that we were all soaked to the skin. Our week moved rapidly on with the Car Show, Tennis, Football, mid-week Ride Out & the Pram Race. We were visiting all the local schools & nurseries during the day along with Broomhill Day Centre, Cowan Court & not forgetting Baldwin Court to sample the Etta’s lovely Home Baking & my personal favourite “The John Chant Centre”.
Our Installation Night will stay with me forever. Nobody can describe the pride you feel standing on the stage as you are sashed “The Penicuik Lass”. There were so many Family, Friends & principles there to support us. The effort made for us was truly humbling. The “Hunters Ball” on the Friday, was a fabulous evening enjoyed by all.
I have to admit that I hardly slept the night before “Hunter & Lass” day. I was up & ready for hours. When everyone arrived at the house my heart was in my mouth. After the traditional bacon rolls & champagne, we made our way towards the town hall. I couldn’t believe so many people had gotten up so early on a Saturday to see us off. We arrived at the town hall for the “Stirrup Cup” & then went out onto the balcony for Grant to sound the horn to signal the start of the ride. We then rode to Penicuik house for the “Horn” blowing ceremony, then rode out over the Pentlands followed by all of the town principles & supporters.
By far the most amazing feeling is riding through Penicuik on Hunter & Lass day it has to be “felt not telt”, I don’t think I have ever seen so many people.
After our week we continued to support all of the other towns. We have taken part in their ride-outs, followed rides, attended their installations and balls.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the committee for everything they do to make “Hunter & Lass” possible.
To all the visiting principles, many who are now life-long friends, for their continued support.
Finally my “Hunter” Grant, I couldn’t imagine making so many incredible memories without you.
I know I can’t wait for 2018 to do it all again with the next “Hunter & Lass”.
This has been one of the best experiences of my life & I would encourage anyone thinking of applying ….. go for it !!!