On Saturday 16th September, Stirling Walking the Marches was held for the fourth year. This year was bigger and better with more participants and a slightly longer route.
The procession gathered at the Municipal Buildings where they set off after an address by Provost Christine Simpson and a report from the Captain of the Birlawmen Andrew McEwan that stated following a perambulation the previous week, the Marches were intact.
The Procession set off on the usual route to the Smith Museum with the Alloa Bowmar Pipe band following behind the Blue Blanket and the rest of the dignitaries in line behind (Lord Lieutenant Alan Simpson, Snawdoun Herald Elizabeth Roads, Provost, Convenor of the Seven Trades Stuart Campbell, Dean of Guildry of Stirling Alasdair Gammack). This year there was the addition of a new Seven Trades banner created by the Embroiderers Guild and carried by Shoe Maker Billy Scotland. To add spectacle there was the Tulliallan Pipe band following up the rear.
At the Smith Museum, there was the now customary toast courtesy of Deanston Distillery to the Marches and the City of Stirling which was delivered by Bailie Mike McCormick.
The Procession then proceeded up the Back Walk, past the Highland Hotel where there was a well-earned breather.
The March restarted, up to Mars Walk, down Broad Street and Baker Street.
Here the March took a deviation down Friar Street, Maxwell Place and up to Broad Street. At this point the Tulliallan Pipe band and the Alloa Bowmar Pipe band joined forces at the front to March through the town.
The route was then along Murray Place, Port Street, dodging the roadworks in Dumbarton Road and back to the Municipal Buildings.
Here the Provost again addressed the gathering, thanking all for their participation.
After the March there was a meal at the Golden Lion Hotel.
There were two speakers’ Dr Elspeth King, Director of The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum and Historian and Guildry member Craig Mair. Elspeth told the gathering about the History of the Marches in Stirling and various Processions that have taken place over the centuries. It was interesting that many of them finished in the Golden Lion hotel.
Craig Mair then proceeded to talk about the history of Walking and Riding of the Marches throughout Scotland, and how they came about to protect the land from land grabs from neighbours. They generally involved the whole community so that one generation could pass the knowledge onto the next. They also developed to become much more social events. Craig also described some very strange customs that had developed in other places and questioned whether in Stirling Archives there were any more local ones known about.
The meal was rounded off by a vote of thanks by Bailie Robin Mair who thanked the attendees, the Golden Lion Hotel, Stirling Gin and Deanston Distillery.
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