Battle of Prestonpans re-enactment all set to go

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By Amanda MacMillan

MUSKETS and cannons were at the ready yesterday (tues) ahead of this year’s re-enactment of the Battle of Prestonpans.

Organisers predict large crowds for the event stretching over two days this weekend with more than 150 participants taking part in mock fighting.

The re-enactments have become an annual event to celebrate the anniversary of the famous battle which took place on 21 September 1745. 

It saw Bonnie Prince Charlie and his army of Jacobite Highlanders resoundingly beat the government troops led by Sir John Cope.

The Prestonpans Tapestry is also making a triumphant return to its home town for the celebrations. 

The tapestry, which has been hailed as the longest in the world, was created by 200 volunteers who embroidered the 104 metre-long panels. 

It depicts scenes from the early part of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s 1745 campaign, up to his resounding victory at Prestonpans.

This will be the first time the massive 104-metre tapestry has been on public display in its home town. 

Since it was completed in July, it has been on tour around communities in the Highlands and Islands, following in the footsteps of the Prince himself 265 years ago.

Although many of the venues have been modest village halls, the tapestry has attracted an astonishing 7,000 visitors so far.

Arran Johnston, the Battle Trust’s executive trustee, plays the key role of Bonnie Prince Charlie during the re-enactments and also accompanied the tapestry on its summer tour. 

He said: “We are thrilled with the scale of this year’s battle anniversary celebrations which promise to be a great day out for the whole family. 

“I know that a great many people are also itching to see the tapestry, with it being on public display in Prestonpans for the first time.

“The reception it has received over the summer on our tour has been overwhelming. 

“Not only have we had astonishing numbers attending, even in the smallest communities and venues, but everyone has been really impressed by the quality of work.

“It is a real tribute to Andrew Crummy, the artist who researched and designed the panels, and the 200 stitchers who dedicated so much of their time and skill to the project.”

The tapestry will be on display at Prestonpans Community Centre from Friday 24 – Sunday 26 September between 11am and 5pm.

The main battle re-enactments will take place at 3pm on both Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 September  at Cuthill Park in Prestonpans. 

There is also a full schedule of military drills and displays throughout both days and large living history encampments which are open from 10am – 4pm each day.

The weekend starts early on Saturday morning with a public dawn-march along the Riggonhead Defile, starting at 4.45am from Tranent Co-op carpark. 

For those that still have the energy later that night, a ceilidh kicks off at 7.30pm at Prestonpans Community Centre.

The full re-enactment programme is available at www.battleofprestonpans1745.org

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