Edinburgh Riding of the Marches

The 2024 Edinburgh Riding of the Marches will take place on Sunday 15th September.

The Edinburgh Riding of the Marches is one of Edinburgh’s largest public events, taking place right in the heart of the Scottish capital every September.

Taking its roots from the historical Common Ridings of Scotland, 280 horses traverse the ancient Royal Mile. This spectacular cavalcade is a re-enactment of the return of the Captain of the Trained Band (responsible for keeping order within the City) to Edinburgh with the tragic news of defeat at the Battle of Flodden, 1513.

The 280 horse cavalcade approaches the Mercat Cross on the Royal Mile. Photo by Phunkt.com

Every year, following a morning of high-energy gallops through some of Edinburgh’s countryside to re-enact the riding of the boundaries of the City, the Captain and Lass will lead the horses up Edinburgh’s Royal Mile towards the Mercat Cross.  Crowds in excess of 20,000 line the Royal Mile from midday onwards, awaiting the arrival of the Cavalcade.  Accompanied by several pipe bands and led by the Lord Provost, City Officer, The High Constables, The Deacon Convener of the Incorporated Trades of Edinburgh, Trades Officer, The Old Master and Lord Dean of Guild of the Merchants Company of Edinburgh and representatives carrying their Edinburgh Trades Banners and representatives from the Edinburgh Exiles Association, all carrying their associated banners and flags in what has proven to be a fantastic spectacle, with resonating historical and cultural significance.

Stuart McFarlane, Scotland’s rugby reporter for Talksport, BBC Sports commentator and regular voice of Radio Borders commentates the proceedings on the Royal Mile and we are joined by our regular Pipe and Silver bands, including St Ronan’s Silver Band, Erskine Stewart’s Melville School Pipe Band, George Heriot’s School Pipe Band and George Watson’s Pipe Band, as well as stunt performers to keep the crowds entertained.

Upon arrivat at the Mercat Cross, the Edinburgh Captain dismounts and ascends the Mercat Cross, accompanied by the Edinburgh Lass, whereupon the Lord Provost extends his welcome to the riders and spectators.  The Edinburgh Captain will then lower the City Banner from atop the Mercat Cross, followed by the Blue Blanket, all the flags of the Incorporate Trades of Edinburgh, The Merchants of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Exiles, during which a Bugler will play the Last Post’.  A one minute silence is then observed for the fallen of Flodden and all Wars.  To complete the mark of respect, the Bugler plays ‘Reveille’, the flags raise and the Captain performs a short speech, declaring the boundaries of the City of Edinburgh to be safe and intact, presenting the Lord Provost with the City Banner, unsullied and unstained.  The event then concludes and the riders then depart and head to the ‘Three Sisters Bar’ on the Canongate for the famous ‘After Party’ – ALL WELCOME!

The event also attracts visitors from across the Globe, who travel to Edinburgh specifically to ride in, or spectate the proceedings.  The Event Arena, situated on the Royal Mile and focussed near to the Mercat Cross on Parliament Square, stretches from South Bridge to North Bridge, just beyond the majestic St Giles Cathedral.

The Edinburgh Riding of the Marches now ranks among Edinburgh’s flagship events and as well as attracting significant local following, it also proves to be a major attraction for tourists.

For further information relating to this event, please do contact us.

The cavalcade of 280 horses gathers in Holyrood Parl before commencing their approach to the Royal Mile. Photo by Phunkt.com
The Edinburgh Captain and Lass ride up the famous Royal Mile. Photo by Phunkt.com
The flag bearers, Lord Provost and High Constables of Edinburgh march up the Royal Mile. Photo by Phunkt.com
George Watson’s College Pipe Band lead the cavalcade at the start of the Royal Mile fro Holyrood Palace. Photo by Phunkt.com