MP in bid to safeguard historic march-ridings

A campaign to increase national support for the region's historic Riding of the Marches celebrations has been backed by Dumfries and Galloway MP Alister Jack.

He has urged the Scottish Government to consider providing financial and other assistance to ensure such events return successfully next year after Covid-19 pandemic cancellations this summer.

Mr Jack, who is Scottish Secretary, joined Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell in calling on Holyrood Ministers to designate the traditional celebrations, most featuring a cavalcade of riders on horseback inspecting ancient burgh boundaries, as 'culturally significant.'

They hope that the events, which also feature a varied range of other activities, could receive ongoing assistance to maximise community benefits and, importantly, also increase their potential to boost vital tourism.

Mr Jack has written to the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture Fiona Hyslop highlighting the importance of the summer events calendar to local people and the regional economy.

There is a range of summer celebrations across the constituency including march-ridings at Dumfries Guid Nychburris, Kirkcudbright, Wigtown and Gatehouse of Fleet.

Mr Jack said: "These are gold-standard events which reflect local history, enhance community spirit and are the result of a huge amount of hard work all year by volunteer committees.

"As we go through this difficult period, let's ensure that, despite missing a year because of the public health emergency, these important celebrations come back firing on all cylinders in 2021 and thrive far into the future."

In his letter to the Cabinet Secretary, Mr Jack wrote: "Recognising these events as 'culturally significant' would be a major boost and cement their position as a central part of Scotland's heritage.

"I would also hope that it would result in them being put on a more stable financial footing ensuring they are protected for many years to come."