Important times that mark the day

New Perambulation walk for Marches civic week.
New Perambulation walk for Marches civic week.

The Linlithgow Marches can rightly be described as the Burgh’s proudest event of the year.

Linlithgow is one of Scotland’s most ancient Royal Burghs, its Charter having been granted by King David I in the 1130s.

The town’s annual tradition of the Riding of the Marches dates back to the 16th century, Marches Day being held on the first Tuesday after the second Thursday in June.

There’s no easy manner in which the spectacle can be adequately described - you’d be better off visiting the annual civic festival for yourself to see what the pomp and ceremony is all about.

The Marches is organised by the Deacons Court, set up in 1975 when the Town Council ceased to exist due to local government changes.

This voluntary body, headed by the Provost, raises funds and plans ahead for the big day.

Those born in Linlithgow are known as “Black Bitches”. The Burgh crest depicts a black bitch tied to a tree on an island, and many Black Bitches who now live outwith the area will make the annual pilgrimage home for the Marches festival.

The event draws groups from all over the town who will parade on Tuesday.

A new event for this year is the ‘Perambulation of the Marches’ - this is a pleasant evening walk of about four miles.

It follows the town’s 1832 ‘parliamentary’ boundary as closely as possible and passing many features of historical or architectural interest. It passes seven out of the eight march stones, one original and seven replicas recently installed, marking the old boundary.

Deacons Court Provost, Jack Adair, said: “This was an exciting new event which gave more local individuals and families the opportunity to connect with the Marches traditions and has constituted true added value to the Civic Festival period.

“I was wonderful to see the number of people who turned up to support it.”