Crowds gather for Edinburgh Riding of the Marches

MORE than 250 riders on horseback horses clattered down the Royal Mile as part of the Capital's historic Riding of the Marches.

Sunday, 11th September 2016, 5:48 pm
Updated Monday, 12th September 2016, 3:51 pm
The Edinburgh Riding of the Marches Pic: Neil Hanna

Crowds turned out to watch the annual tradition, which sees the riders marking out the city’s boundaries.

And the day culminated in a flag ceremony at the Mercat Cross followed by the traditional singing of the town songs in the Three Sisters in the Cowgate.

The Riding of the Marches dates back to at least 1579 – though some say it goes right back to 1143, when King David I granted Edinburgh its common land – and was revived in 2009 after a gap of 60 years.

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It commemorates the return in 1513 of the Captain of the City Band, Randolph Murray clasping the ancient Blue Blanket banner with the tragic news of the defeat of the Scottish army at the Battle of Flodden.

Riders aged from seven to 75 took part in Sunday’s re-enactment of the inspection of the boundaries, setting off from Old Dalkeith Road around 9.30am, covering as much countryside as possible and reaching the Royal Mile around 3.45pm.

Representatives of 30 Scottish riding towns, including those from the Borders, Shetland and Skye were among those taking part.

Entertainment was provided on the Royal Mile by the St Ronan’s City Band and also a firing display by the Edinburgh City Guard.

The procession up the Royal Mile was led by the George Heriot’s Pipe Band.

This year’s 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War was be reflected in the flag ceremony when Lord Provost Donald Wilson was presented with the city banner by Edinburgh’s 2016 captain Paul Edwards and lass Cheryl McVay-Edwards, who led the Riding.