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Last Updated: Friday, 23 June 2006, 09:26 GMT 10:26 UK
Highlanders return to their roots
The Highlanders
Soldiers of The Highlanders on parade in Inverness
The Highlanders are making their first tour of their traditional recruiting areas since becoming part of the new Royal Regiment of Scotland.

Soldiers visited Inverness on Monday and will finish up in Aberdeen for a Freedom of the City parade on 1 July.

The Highlanders form the 4th Battalion of the new regiment, which saw the merger of Scotland's six old regiments.

They spent six months on deployment with the 7th Armoured Brigade - the Desert Rats - in Iraq.

About 250 soldiers, including 30 members of the pipes and drums, are touring the north and north east, taking in Fort William, Keith, Buckie, Aviemore, Grantown-on-Spey, Nairn, Forres, Elgin, Tain, Dingwall, Thurso, Wick, Huntly, Fraserburgh, Peterhead and Stonehaven.

'Historic tour'

Brigadier Hughie Monro, The Highlanders' regimental colonel, said the soldiers were "delighted to be back on Scottish soil".

He said: "We were overwhelmed with the support we received both during our operations in Iraq and since our return to Germany in April.

Warrior armoured vehicle
An armoured vehicle on display during the Inverness visit

"We will be using this tour as an opportunity to thank the Highland towns for their support.

"This will be a particularly important and historic tour for The Highlanders as it will be the first time that we have marched through our home area since joining with Scotland's other infantry regiments under the single cap badge of The Royal Regiment of Scotland."

The Highlanders left Iraq in April to return to their base in Fallingbostel, Germany.

During their time in Iraq, the troops were based in Basra and Al Amarah where they assisted in the training of the Iraqi Security Forces as well as security and counter insurgency operations.

Members of the battalion will go back to Germany on 2 July to begin a year's training, before a major exercise in Canada next summer.

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22 May 06 |  South of Scotland

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