On Saturday in brilliant sunshine a recently created replica of Stirlings’ famous Blue Blanket was unfurled for the first time in over 100 years at the third Walking of the revived Marches. The Blue Blanket was created by the Embroiderers Guild from a template taken from the very fragile original which is stored in the Smith Museum. The tradition is that when Mary Queen of Scots granted the charter of privilege on 16th April 1556, to the Stirling Trades, she presented them with a banner made by herself and her maids of honour.
The Walk commenced at 11.00am, after the Captain of the Birlawmen and Deacon of the Hammermen Andrew McEwan declared to the Provost that the boundaries had all been marked the previous week and seen to be intact. Deacon Convener of the Seven Incorporated Trades Stuart Campbell then introduced the Blue Blanket and said it was an “honour to recreate a historic event in Stirling that hasn’t been seen in the last 100 years”
The Walk then took its route through the Town Led by Captain of the Birlawmen with Council Officer Dan Doyle carrying Stirling Burgh Mace, Alloa Bowmar Pipe Band and the Blue Blanket carried by members of the Seven Trades. They stopped at the Smith Museum beside the March Stone where the Dean of Guild gave a Toast to the Marches. The walk continued after a tour through the Museum courtesy of Elspeth King. Numbers attending the Walk were considerably up from the previous year.
There was a good representation of the Seven Trades, the Guildry, the Embroiderers’ Guild and Council. There were also representatives from the Incorporated Trades of Linlithgow, Lanark and Irvine. Representatives of the Guides helped handing out leaflets with some dressing up in traditional costume displaying banners depicting the various Trades. Many members of the public and tourists joined in and enjoyed the event.
History was also recreated after the Walk with a Marches Lunch hosted by the Council, The Seven Incorporated Trades and the Guildry in the Golden Lion Hotel, the first for over 50 years.
The aim of the Walk is to recreate a major historic event that becomes a regular feature in the Stirling Calendar that both locals and tourists can participate in.
A You Tube video is available courtesy of Barry Ferguson. The 2016 Walking of the Marches – see below:-