No boundaries for Stirling’s Walking of the Marches success

Provost Douglas Dodds joined with locals and visitors at the weekend to celebrate one of Stirling’s most historic gatherings.

A picture, in the sunshine, of a large gathering, all smiling at the camera at the foot of cobbled King Street in Stirling with the steeple of The Athenaeum in the background.
Locals and visitors took part in the centuries old tradition around the streets of Stirling.

The annual Walking of the Marches took place on Saturday (May 27), on a route around the city centre, starting from the rotunda at the foot of King Street.

The tradition of inspecting and protecting the boundaries of Stirling goes back to the 12th century, possibly even earlier.


Provost Dodds teamed up with residents and visitors as the main inspectors of the Marches, known as Birlawmen, checked over the boundaries to ensure they had not been ‘encroached upon’ over the last 12 months.

Traditionally, the Birlawmen marked the boundaries using picks and shovels to turn sods of turf at each check point and ceremonial picks and shovels are still carried today.

Provost Douglas Dodds, wearing a red ceremonial cloak, addresses attendees of the Walking of the Marches with a loudspeaker, which is being held by a Marches' officialwearing purple on the right.
Provost Dodds addressed the crowd on the importance of tradition and heritage to the people of Stirling.

Provost Dodds said: “Traditions are as important to Stirling’s future as they are to its past.

“Our city is recognised internationally for the scope of its history and heritage and the Walking of the Marches allows residents and visitors to revel in such magical surroundings.


“It was a great to walk with so many people, including lots of tourists, and to hear so many different accents. The marking of the boundaries may be symbolic these days, but it’s an important festival of friendliness.

“Once upon a time, the people Stirling may have been forced to guard again those who dared encroach on its territory. These days, the Walking of the Marches reminds us that Stirling is a vibrant and welcoming city, open to all.”

A Marches official, dressed in a kilt, leads the procession of people up King Street.
Traditionally, the 'Birlawmen' marked the boundaries of Stirling using picks and shovels.

Andrew McEwan, Chair of the Walking of the Marches committee, said: “We had a great day and were blessed with some perfect weather.

“It was fantastic to see so many people getting involved as we keep alive this part of the history and heritage of our city. We have worked hard to adapt this ancient tradition to make it relevant to what we do today and it is wonderful to see the engagement with locals and visitors alike.

“I would like to thank everyone who made this event possible and, in particular, our hard working Marches committee.”

For more info on the role of Stirling's Provost and how to request the Provost to attend an event, visit:"