THE traditional Walking The Marches procession in Stirling has been hailed as the city's most successful ever by Provost Christine Simpson.

The civic leader helped lead the 800-year-old boundary check on Saturday as it visited Stirling Bridge, Lovers Walk, the Engine Shed on Forth Street, Kerse Road, Upper Craigs, Back Walk, and The Smith Museum.

The procession included a toast to the new March Stone adjacent to the Albert Halls and a performance by the Historia Normannis re-enactment group.

Provost Simpson believes the event is now firmly re-established on Stirling’s social calendar and hopes it can continue to grow to become as big as Lanark’s famous Lanimers Day.

She said: “This was by far the most successful Walking The Marches since its revival in 2014 and it was wonderful to see so many people on the streets taking in the spectacle.

“Walking The Marches is an 800-year-old tradition that is now going from strength to strength and the aspiration is we can one day make it as high-profile a community event as Lanark’s Lanimers Day.

“This year we welcomed in guests from the Incorporated Trades of Lanark, Linlithgow and Irvine and that can only help spread the word and hopefully attract even more visitors to the city.

“The introduction of Smith educational officer David Smith as the procession Bellman and then the historical re-enactment held at the Smiths were excellent additions to the theatre of Walking The Marches.

“The success of Saturday’s Walking The Marches means this event has well and truly returned as a firm fixture in the Stirling calendar.

“I believe that by honouring our past, we strengthen our future and I look forward to seeing this important tradition continue to grow.”

The first documented evidence of Stirling’s historic Walking The Marches dates back to 1611 but the practice is believed to go back as far as the 12th century.

The ceremony celebrates when officials had to inspect the city’s boundaries to check that they had not been encroached on.

Stirling’s inspectors, known as Birlawmen, would use picks and shovels to turn over a sod of grass at strategic points on the Burgh boundary.

In 1723, numbered March stones were introduced so that a count could be kept.

The official annual marches ceased as a result of regionalisation of Scottish councils in the 1970s but Walking The Marches has made a triumphant return since being revived in 2014.

Stuart Campbell, Deacon Convenor of Stirling Incorporated Trades said: “The event is getting bigger and better every year. Our ultimate goal is to make this as big an event as Linlithgow or Lanark and we are continuing to build each year.

“There were a couple of additions that we did this year to help things along and make it more of a spectacle.

“We had the Historia Normannis re-enactment group doing a skit at the Smith and they joined us on the procession. The Bellman was a great addition and was able to give little historical snippets all the way round.

“We perhaps had fewer people actually walking in the parade than last year but there were significantly more people watching the procession, which is immensely encouraging.”