By Karrie Gillett
HUNDREDS of horses will parade through the streets during a festival which dates back hundreds of years.
The Edinburgh Riding of the Marches has been revived after an absence of more than 60 years.
The last time the festival took place was in 1946 as a victory march to celebrate the end of the Second World War.
Now, some 250 horses will gallop through the streets of the capital after enthusiastic rider Ian Douglas read about the centuries-old tradition and decided to restore it.
A ceremonial banner was handed over to Mr Douglas by the city’s Lord Provost in a ceremony to mark the official re-launch of the event.
Mr Douglas – who has been elected captain of the riding – said: “I think from a nostalgic point of view it will be fantastic and hopefully we will be able to hold it on an annual basis.
“In 1946 it was held to mark the end of the war and 250,000 people lined the streets with 70 horses and riders taking part.
“I am delighted at this opportunity and it is a great honour to be asked to carry the banner and lead the modern march.”
The Riding of the Marches was last held as an annual event in 1718 and had been running from the original event in 1579.
It was held as a way for officials to inspect the common land and boundary markers of the city to prevent unlawful encroachment.
The 2009 event will be held on September 6 with a total of 250 horses and riders dressed in bright sashes making their way from Tower Farm stables in the Braid Hills into the city.
The procession will gallop up the Royal Mile until it reached the Mercat Cross opposite the City Chambers.
George Grubb, Lord Provost, said: “I think it is terrific, it’s one of the old traditions of Edinburgh and deserves to be revived.
“I can imagine the spectacle of 250 riders on horseback going up the Royal Mile. It will be absolutely terrific.”
While Mr Douglas, 37, will be the principal rider as captain, he will be joined by first officer PC Stephen McGill and second officer Councillor Iain Whyte.