The North Rising Commemoration, 25th May 2019

Held annually to remember Andrew de Moray raising the saltire above his castle on Ormond Hill in Avoch, to signal the start of the Wars of Independence. De Moray was co-commander with William Wallace at Stirling Bridge. Sadly he died of wounds sustained there and was lost to the history books. The aims of The Andrew de Moray Project and of The Guardians of Scotland Trust are to ensure he takes his rightful place alongside Wallace and Bruce as a national hero. I was honoured to be asked to lower the old flag and raise the new one donated by The Society of William Wallace. A proud moment replicating the actions of a legend. Once again, it is our time.

Ted Christopher

Heading along the edge of the bay
Heading along the edge of the bay
Turning to head uphill

The annual North Rising commemoration held at Avoch, on the Black Isle, is a commemoration very much in the spirit of all the commemorations the Society either organises or takes part in throughout Scotland. These commemorations are days when like-minded patriots gather to honour their heroes from our history, see old friends and quite often make new ones. This year's commemoration started as it always starts, in the sports ground, just off to the left as you enter Avoch from Inverness.

It's a pretty casual and relaxed march to the water's edge of Avoch Bay, this is when Ormond Hill comes into view and as you come to the end of Ormond Terrace we start heading up hill, not too steep and on a decent road. About five minutes up this incline you come to a staggered crossroads, we took the left turn along as far as the house and head through the large farm gate on the left hand side, closing it after we all passed through, and headed in the direction of the hill. This is when it gets a bit country, so watch your footing! As we got to the foot of the hill the path is better. We walked to the end and passed through the gate and up the path to the top of Ormond hill, some of us taking a stone to place on the cairn.

Charlie Murray Beattie, the main organiser and co-founder of this commemoration led the proceedings with a short introduction followed by the lowering of the saltire, done this year by Ted Christopher. Once removed from the flagpole the saltire, which is gifted each year by the SOWW, was presented to young Mitchell Reid, our piper, who had the honour last year of lowering and raising the new saltire, the one he was just presented with.

After the invited speakers, who were Neil Lochiel, Rob Gibson, and George Kempik, had spoken of what it meant to them to be present at this important commemoration at this incredible site of Scottish history, Ted raised the new saltire and Mitchell played a suitable tune on the bagpipes. Flowers were placed at the cairn in memory of the SOWW's previous convenor, who passed away five years ago to the day of this commemoration. A commemoration Duncan never missed.

The weather had been fantastic but by the end it was beginning to rain, but there was enough time for some photos, and then we all headed back to town. Later we all gathered at the wee sports pavilion for a night of Highland hospitality, entertained in the main by Ted Christopher, Rob Gibson and young Mitchell on the pipes.

George Kempik

Heading up the road to Ormond Hill
The view over the bay from Ormond Hill
The cairn supporting the flagpole
Neil's speech
Sir Andrew de Moray
Telling the story of the Rising
Special thanks to Ted Christopher and Paul Jamieson for the photos

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The Society of William Wallace is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation Registration number SC045959