Page last updated at 15:57 GMT, Friday, 19 September 2008 16:57 UK

Historic Mod walkers return home

Falkirk Wheel
The children will walk from the Falkirk Wheel to the town hall

Hundreds of schoolchildren escorted organisers of this year's Royal National Mod into Falkirk on the final leg of a 104-mile trek.

Twelve people, including Falkirk Provost Pat Reid, took part in the trek from Fort William, where the Gaelic festival was held last year.

The walkers retraced the route of cattle drovers who followed the path with livestock hundreds of years ago.

The week-long Mod is due to kick-off in Falkirk on 10 October.

The schoolchildren, selected from six Falkirk primary schools, walked the final mile of the journey in procession from the Falkirk Wheel to the town hall.

The walk itself was a truly enlightening experience and we were delighted by all the hospitality and encouragement we were given during its entire length
Walk organiser
Alan Rankine

The walkers were also joined by Na Fir Dileas (The Loyal Men) who completed the final leg of the journey dressed in traditional highland drover gear.

The event also marked the official launch of the Mod fringe, a series of musical and cultural events, which is expected to draw about 10,000 visitors to the area before the festival ends on 18 October.

This year's performers will include Skerryvore, The Red Hot Chilli Pipers and Skipinnish.

'Coming Home'

Walk organiser Alan Rankine said taking part was a unique experience.

He added: "The walk itself was a truly enlightening experience and we were delighted by all the hospitality and encouragement we were given during its entire length."

The fundraising walk took seven days to complete and represented the journey of cattle traders in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Traders from the Highlands and islands would converge on Falkirk district to sell their livestock at the annual trysts.

Following the sales, the drovers would gather for ceilidhs in the area.

Locals believe it was these gatherings that sparked the idea for a festival celebrating Gaelic culture, and is why Mod 2008 is using the slogan "The Mod is Coming Home".


SEE ALSO
Walkers embark on historic trek
13 Sep 08 |  Tayside and Central
Airline troubles fuel Mod anxiety
29 Aug 08 |  Tayside and Central
Mod walkers follow historic path
11 Jan 08 |  Tayside and Central
Mod to feature Canadian flavour
24 Oct 07 |  Tayside and Central
Gaelic festival set for Falkirk
07 Apr 06 |  Scotland

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