Thousands expected to watch Edinburgh Riding of the Marches

Around 20,000 people will swarm the streets of Edinburgh to watch the historic Riding of the Marches.
Edinburgh's Riding of the MarchesEdinburgh's Riding of the Marches
Edinburgh's Riding of the Marches

Up to 300 horse riders will set off early on Sunday morning to gallop around the boundaries of the Capital before parading up the Royal Mile led by pipes and drums.

The annual tradition– 
dating back to 1579 and revived in 2009 – is expected to draw thousands of spectators to the city centre.

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The event commemorates the tradition of inspecting the city’s boundaries and re-enacts the Captain of the Trained Band’s return to the city with news of defeat at the Battle of Flodden in 1513.

And this year’s event will mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. Riders taking part can be in the saddle for up to seven hours.

The action starts at 9.30am when the riders set off from land near Drum Feeds in Old Dalkeith Road and follow a route around the southern outskirts of the city, then through Holyrood Park for the start of the procession at the foot of the Royal Mile at 3.30pm.

Traffic will be held as required along the route, but the High Street and Lawnmarket will be closed from 12.30pm and Holyrood Park roads, Canongate and New Street from 2.30pm, opening again by 6pm.

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There will be entertainment in the Royal Mile from noon, including pipe and silver bands, stunt riders and the Edinburgh Street Ceilidh.

Alasdair Hutton, the “Voice of the Tattoo”, will commentate on the proceedings. And the bands taking part will include St Ronan’s Silver Band, Erskine Stewart’s Melville School Pipe Band and George Heriot’s Pipe Band.

The cavalcade of horses will be led by the Lord Provost Frank Ross, accompanied by the High Constables, the Deacon Convener of the Incorporated Trades of Edinburgh and the Old Master and Lord Dean of Guild of the Merchants Company of Edinburgh and representatives, all carrying their Edinburgh Trades Banners.

Mr Ross said: “If you haven’t witnessed this re-enactment before, it really is an awe-inspiring event celebrating Scottish history and citizenship which anyone can enjoy.”

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The procession is due to reach the Mercat Cross around 3.55pm, where there is a flag ceremony and a minute’s silence to remember the dead of Flodden and all wars.

Also joining the ceremonies this year will be co-founders of The War Horse Memorial, Alan Carr and Susan Osborne, who will present the Lord Provost with the final of the four bronze horseshoes atop the Mercat Cross; the other three having been gifted to the Lord Mayors of Cardiff, London and Belfast. The presentation will signify the service and sacrifice that horses of the Scottish regiments and the men and women who worked with them gave during the First World War.

Afterwards, the riders will move off up the Royal Mile and down to the Grassmarket, finishing the ride in King’s Stables Road.