Accompanied by the sound of their stirring pipes and drums, the Atholl Highlanders will join The Gathering’s Clan Parade along the historic Royal Mile this weekend after almost 30 years away from Scotland’s capital.
The Gathering takes place in Edinburgh as part of Scotland’s 2009 Homecoming celebrations, and the famous Royal Mile in Edinburgh will form the backdrop for the Clan Parade on Saturday 25 July. It will be the first time in history that all the clans have paraded together from the royal Palace of Holyrood up to Edinburgh Castle.
It will also mark the occasion of The Atholl Highlanders first visit to Edinburgh in 29 years. Of their several previous visits, the most notable was on August 15, 1971 when they acted as Guard of Honour for HRH the Duchess of Gloucester when she visited Parliament House for the bi-centenary of Sir Walter Scott.
The regiment of Atholl Highlanders serves the Duke of Atholl, its Colonel, and is the last remaining private army in Europe.
They are rarely seen outside of Highland Perthshire, where they gather annually in May at Blair Castle, a major tourist attraction, in the presence of Colonel His Grace, the Duke of Atholl.
Historically, the regiment have acted as bodyguards for royalty, providing a Guard of Honour for Queen Victoria throughout her visit to Blair Castle in 1844, although their current role is a largely a ceremonial one.
More information about the rich history of the Atholl Highlanders can be found at www.blair-castle.co.uk or inside Blair Castle itself which houses a room dedicated to the history of the regiment.