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Historic Inverness church parade brings pageantry back after Covid break

By Neil MacPhail

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Crowds line the streets for the 2019 parade.
Crowds line the streets for the 2019 parade.

The historic Kirking of the Council parade and church service returns to Inverness next month after a three-year cancellation break due to Covid and the period of mourning due to the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

The Kirking on September 10 is the oldest annual gathering staged in the City of Inverness and brings more than 400 years of tradition and pageantry to the streets of Highland Capital

The Kirking of the Council service will be held in Ness Bank Church and led by the Rev Ian Manson since the historic venue the Old High Church has been closed to worship due to Church of Scotland cutbacks.

Staff and members of Highland Council along with guests from the twinned French town of Saint Valery, the University of the Highlands and Islands and community councils will parade, led by the City of Inverness Pipe Band along with uniformed youth groups and school representatives.

The colourful parade begins in Inverness High Street at 10.30am and travels towards the Town House where they will be joined by Provost Glynis Campbell Sinclair, councillors and representatives from various organisations serving the city.

The parade will then make its way from Inverness Town House down Bridge Street, left onto Castle Road and to Ness Bank Church.

The service - which is open to all - begins at 11.00am. Due to the popularity of the Kirking those intending to join the congregation are asked to arrive in good time to take their seats.

After the service the procession will then form up in Castle Road before returning to the Town House.

The following temporary road closures will take effect for public safety during the parade:

High Street, will be closed at its junction with Eastgate to its junction with Bridge Street, between 10:30 and 10:45, and between 12:10 and 12:25.

Bridge Street, will be closed at its junction with High Street to its junction with Bank Street, between 10:35 and 10:50, and between 12:05 and 12:20.

and Castle Road, will be closed at its junction with Bank Street to its junction with Haugh Road, between 10:40 and 10:55, and between 12:00 and 12:15.

A 2019 souvenir photo at gates of Old High Church.
A 2019 souvenir photo at gates of Old High Church.

Provost Sinclair, who will be delivering the provost’s traditional reading during the service said: “The Kirking is for people who work in the public sector of all faiths or no faith who wish to come together and reflect on their public service.”

The Rev Ian Manson added: “It is great to be able to bring together such a wide range of people who serve our community in so many different ways. I hope that the whole event can give us a greater sense of togetherness as we move forward in these difficult times.

“As a church in the city centre, Ness Bank is aware of the role it can play in providing a focus for all that is good and positive in our community, and the ability to host a service like this is certainly an example of what that can mean.

"Although the service will take place in Ness Bank Church, which is part of the Church of Scotland, we are very clear that we host it on behalf of the wider faith community in our region, and the presence of representatives of those groups played in important part in making the day so special.”


The Kirking is usually held on the morning of the second Sunday in September and marks the official end of the Inverness Summer Festivals programme.

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