City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Riding of the Marches to Return After 63-Year Absence


By edg - Posted on 06 February 2009

After a 63 year absence, The Edinburgh Riding of the Marches is to be re-launched at noon on Monday 9th February.

The launch will involve the presentation of a ceremonial City of Edinburgh Banner to the ‘Captain' rider by the Lord Provost at the Mercat Cross. The Captain will then ride up the High Street towards the Lawnmarket flying the Banner, flanked by his supporting riders (3 horses in total).

The event itself takes place on 6th September when 250 riders will make their way from Tower Farm stables in Braid Hills, into the city and up the Royal Mile to the Mercat Cross.

The Riding of the Marches was originally held between 1579 and 1718, where the purpose was to inspect the Common Land and boundary markers of the city to stop unlawful encroachment and protect the integrity of the city boundary. These inspections were carried out on horseback by the town Burgesses and the Trained Band.

A number of towns in the Scottish Borders have continued with the practice of Common Riding, or Riding of the Marches, and today these events form the centrepiece of many local festivals.

There was a one off Riding of the Marches in Edinburgh in 1946 to
celebrate the end of the war but the tradition has not been repeated
since.

The principle riders leading the event in September will be known as the Edinburgh Captain and his 1st and 2nd Officers. As well as the opportunity for local riders to participate, riders from other towns are expected to take part.