Historic Stirling parade to mark 900th anniversary "biggest and best ever"

The Walking of the Marches is a historic event in Stirling's calendar

Saturday’s Walking of the Marches on Saturday has been hailed as the ‘biggest and best ever’ in its 900-year history by organisers.

The Walking of the Marches is an ancient tradition of inspecting and protecting the boundaries of the city, which dates back to at least the 12th century, when Kind David I granted Stirling its prestigious royal status.

Huge crowds gathered for the start of the annual procession at the Roundel on King Street on Saturday morning and, following a series of proclamations and speeches, including from Provost Elaine Watterson, the Marches set off from the foot of King Street on a route around the city centre.

Leading the parade were ‘Birlawmen’, the inspectors who traditionally marked the boundaries using picks and shovels, turning sods of turf at each check point. Ceremonial picks and shovels are still carried today and this year, for the first time, the inspectors included two female Birlawmen, Janie Meikle Bland and Val Bold.

The event attracted big crowds in the city centre
The event attracted big crowds in the city centre -Credit:JIM MAILER, WHYLER PHOTOS

Groups and organisations from across Stirling took part in the procession including staff, students and alumni from the University of Stirling, some who wore their national dress, adding to the colour and spectacle.

After a toast at the Smith Art Gallery and Museum, the Marches continued onto Cowane’s Hospital, where the procession concluded with an entertainment programme.

Andrew McEwan, chair of the Walking of the Marches committee, said: “The Walking of the Marches this year was a wonderful celebration of Stirling and we were absolutely thrilled by the numbers that turned up.

“The Walking of the Marches is something that has been done for centuries but I think we can safely say that was the biggest and best ever.’’