23 April 2024

Aberdeenshire gets set to welcome the SCOTS Regiment

Plans are at their final stage for a weekend of activity to celebrate the links between Aberdeenshire and the Armed Forces.

Back in September, Aberdeenshire Council agreed to grant the Freedom of Aberdeenshire to The Royal Regiment of Scotland (SCOTS). This symbolic honour represents the close historical ties between the Regiment, its antecedent regiments before, and the communities of Aberdeenshire.

As part of the proposal was a weekend of activity, which will see significant parades in three towns.


Saturday 11th May

The main event takes place in Peterhead. This will be where the official Freedom will be conferred on the regiment by the Provost of Aberdeenshire.

A community event will be held at Drummers Corner, starting in the morning. At this, a range of military organisations will have a presence, including the Highland Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, Air, Sea and Army Cadets and Veterans organisations.

At 12noon – as many as 150 troops from The Royal Regiment of Scotland will begin to parade through the streets of the town. There will be the regimental marching troops, pipes and drums, colour party plus the mascot Shetland pony. The full route map can be found here:

This will be a major event and we expect local road closures and travel disruption. These are necessary so we can provide adequate space for the procession and for the community to turn out in support.


Sunday 12th May

On Sunday, the Regiment will parade in Alford and Laurencekirk. Again, all 150 of the troops are expected and will be joined in each location by veterans, cadets and other groups such as Scouts. The parades on Sunday are a chance for the Regiment to exercise their new Freedom.

The parades will begin at Alford Community Campus at 10am, and then at Mearns Community Campus at 1.30pm. Both parades will take the troops through the centre of the towns.

Route maps can be found here for Alford:

And here for Laurencekirk:


Provost of Aberdeenshire Cllr Judy Whyte said: “Last September, Aberdeenshire Council agreed in principle to confer the Freedom of our area on the Royal Regiment of Scotland. This nods to a strong connection with the Regiment and with the antecedent regiments which came before. For many of us, this puts us in mind of family, heritage, brings back memories of those no longer with us and allows us to be grateful for those who will take their legacy forward. I feel sure the weekend activities will live long in the minds of everyone who attends and I am hopeful that the Regiment find themselves very welcome in our towns and communities now and in the years to come.”

Deputy Provost of Aberdeenshire Cllr Ron McKail, himself a veteran, added: “This weekend of activity, despite being ceremonial, sends a strong message to our communities that we support and appreciate the work of all of the Armed Forces. The SCOTS regiment has historically played an important role in Aberdeenshire and I add my wishes that people turn out in numbers to make the Regiment very welcome.”


Freedom Parade

A Freedom of a Borough/County/City/Town is generally bestowed in recognition of the services of the Regiment, both in peace and war. In consideration of the high regard and esteem which the Regiment commands, the Council will generally vote to bestow its highest civic honour to the Regiment. In passing the resolution the Provost and Councillors will confer upon the honourable soldiers the Freedom of the said area and hereby record for all time the appreciation, gratitude, and respect of the citizens, in this case of Aberdeenshire.


The Royal Regiment of Scotland

The Royal Regiment of Scotland is the senior and only Scottish line infantry regiment of the British Army Infantry. It consists of three regular (formerly five) and two reserve battalions, plus an incremental company. Each were formerly an individual regiment (with the exception of the former first battalion (now disbanded and reformed into the 1st Bn Rangers based in Northern Ireland), which is an amalgamation of two regiments.) However, three regular battalions maintain their former regimental pipes and drums to carry on the traditions of their antecedent regiments.

Since its formation the regiment has deployed to almost every theatre of operations the British Army has been involved in, bound by the unified purpose to deliver a modern infantry fighting capability for the UK and its Defence requirements around the world.

The Regiment’s motto is Nemo Me Impune Lacessit (No One Assails Me With Impunity) – which is the motto of the Order of the Thistle, Scotland’s highest order of chivalry, and was also the motto of four of the pre-existing Scottish regiments.


Corporal Cruachan IV (Regimental Mascot)

Corporal Cruachan IV, is a Shetland pony and took up his role in October 2012. The first Shetland pony mascot was presented to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (one of the historic antecedent Regiments) in 1929 by HRH Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll. The pony was named after Ben Cruachan, a mountain in the Argyll’s namesake lieutenancy, and the war cry of Clan Campbell, of whom the Duke of Argyll was chief. When the original Cruachan retired, he was replaced with another Shetland who took over the role and named Cruachan II. The tradition of having a Shetland pony continued when the antecedent Regiment’s amalgamated in 2006 – the current pony took over the role following the retirement of Cruachan III. When not undertaking public engagements in his role as mascot, Cruachan IV spends most of his time in stables at Redford Barracks, Edinburgh with his trusty companion Nightcap. Cruachan and Nightcap are cared for by Pony Major Cpl Stewart.


Links with Aberdeenshire

In 1794, The Gordon Highlanders were raised in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, and the Gordon’s traditionally recruited from this area. In 1994 The Gordon Highlanders amalgamated with the Queen’s Own Highlanders to form The Highlanders. Upon the formation of The Royal Regiment of Scotland in 2006 the 4th Battalion (4 SCOTS) were formed from The Highlanders, and thus maintain the golden thread to the antecedent regiments, still observing the traditions of The Gordon’s Highlanders and links with the North East of Scotland to this day.