Riding of the Marches returning to Edinburgh

The Edinburgh Riding of the Marches, a uniquely Scottish event, takes place next weekend.

On Sunday, 15 September, it will be celebrating 10 years since the modern-day revival of the ancient custom of riding the boundaries, or ‘marches’ of Scotland’s Capital City with 300 horses and riders riding up Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile.

The symbolic tradition of inspecting the common land in Edinburgh dates back centuries, to at least 1494 and was first recorded on 31st October 1579.   On this date, a group of towns people gathered at the Provost’s house at 11 o’clock, from where they embarked on an inspection of the Marches of the Common Land, led by the Captain of the Trained Band (Town Guard), the Lord Provost, Bailies and Burgesses.

The inspection of the Common Land continued, until the demise of the practise in 1718.  In 1946 a special ‘Riding of the Marches’ was held in Edinburgh to celebrate peace and the end of the war; 70 riders took part and were met by crowds ‘reaching Royal dimensions’ upon their return to the Royal Mile.

The modern-day re-enactment, revived in 2009, also commemorates Randolph Murray’s return to Edinburgh with the ancient Blue Blanket and the tragic news of defeat of the Scottish Army at the Battle of Flodden 1513 and is in honour of those who sought to protect the integrity of Edinburgh’s Common Land and defend the inhabitants of the City.

The 2019 Edinburgh Captain, Connor Geddes – an electrician by trade who works for Edinburgh and Lothians electrical contractors Nicholson Bros. and Edinburgh Lass Rose Hessell, an equine hospital groom at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, will be escorted by officers of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (SCOTS DG) mounted on traditional grey horses along with the Edinburgh Captains and Lasses dating back to 2009 ahead of the cavalcade of 300 horses and riders.

The Edinburgh Riding of the Marches sees riders from all over the world taking part this year, including Canada, the USA and Australia and this year will see the largest number of representatives from the Scottish Borders Common Riding and Festival towns, who will be dressed in their towns’ traditional colours and sashes.

The day starts early with the traditional high-energy gallops through countryside surrounding the City Centre to re-enact the ancient custom of inspecting the ‘Burgh Marches’.  The 300 riders then continue their journey through Holyrood Park before finally traversing up the Royal Mile, led by pipes and drums and the Rt. Hon. Frank Ross, the City of Edinburgh’s Lord Provost and Lord Lieutenant, with the Royal Mile commentary by ‘The Voice of the Tattoo’, Alasdair Hutton OBE TD.

The Edinburgh Riding of the Marches, organised and fund-raised entirely by a small group of 13 volunteers, welcomes spectators to watch this spectacular free event on the Royal Mile from 12.45pm onwards.

For more information about the Edinburgh Riding of the Marches visit http://edinburghridingofthemarches.com/edinburgh-riding-of-the-marches