Edinburgh hosts Riding of the Marches

Last year's Riding of the Marches
Last year's Riding of the Marches
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It’s one of the largest and most historic events in the Capital with a tradition stretching back almost 450 years.

The iconic annual Edinburgh Riding of the Marches takes place tomorrow with 20,000 spectators expected to attend the showcase of more than 250 horses and riders.

Riders aged from seven to 75 will take part in a traditional re-enactment of the inspection of the city boundaries, which first took place as long ago as 1579.

This year’s event will mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and will be reflected in the ceremony when Lord Provost Donald Wilson is presented with the city banner by Edinburgh’s 2016 captain Paul Edwards and lass Cheryl McVay-Edwards.

The banner presentation has become a yearly tradition since the event was re-established back in 2009, following a 60-year absence.

Marketing Edinburgh is supporting the event, which chief executive John Donnelly described as “spectacular”.

“The procession of over 250 riders, cheered on by more than 20,000 spectators along historic streets of Edinburgh like the Royal Mile, is one of our city’s most spectacular, as well as historic, annual traditions,” he said

“The Edinburgh Riding of the Marches attracts visitors from around the world, who return each year, along with the people of Edinburgh and Scotland to witness over 100 pipes and drums and the clatter of over 1000 hooves upon the cobbles of the Royal Mile.”

Representatives of 30 Scottish riding towns, including those from the Borders, Shetland and Skye will be among around 280 from across the country taking part.

It will be a memorable occasion for two former riders in particular.

Sonja and David Marwick are returning to the procession for the first time in two years after getting engaged on the ride in 2014.

Sonja proposed to David as they were led up the Royal Mile and the couple – originally from Orkney – were invited to make a second appearance at the event after tying the knot last year.

The procession begins on Old Dalkeith Road at around 9.30am, however won’t reach the city centre until around 3.45pm, when it will move up the Royal Mile from Holyrood Palace.

Entertainment ahead of the parade will start on the Royal Mile at around 1.30pm with the St Ronan’s City Band and a firing display by the Edinburgh City Guard.

Led by The George Heriot’s Pipe Band, the procession will then return to the Mercat Cross where the presentation of the banner will take place at around 4pm, before finishing on King’s Stables Road at around 4.30pm.

Spectators have also been invited to attend post-ride celebrations in the Three Sisters pub on the Cowgate, where traditional singing of town songs will take place.