BACK in 1984, when the first-ever Wallace Day March was held through Lanark, no-one could have guessed that the 30th anniversary of the event would land in such a significant time in Scotland’s history.
Originally organised by the then SNP parliamentary candidate for Clydesdale Mike Russell – now a Scottish Government minister – the March was to mark the anniversary of The Braveheart’s execution in London in 1305.
For the next 29 years, the March was duly held with minds concentrated very much on the past and the Wallace legend.
However, the 30th anniversary event saw the eyes of those taking part very firmly fixed on the future, specifically the Independence Referendum.
Inevitably, the SNP organisers grasped the opportunity to use the March to further their ‘Yes’ message, each of the 100 or so marchers bearing either a plain Saltire or one emblazoned with that one word slogan of their campaign.
The procession set off from Lanark Cemetery and through the town centre to the memorial stone at the Castlegate, marking the spot where William Wallace’s house reputedly once stood.
Before the traditional laying of wreaths, the gathering heard three short speeches from Nationalist politicians – Christina McKelvie, Keith Brown and Councillor Ian Gray.
Many in the crowd left with hopes that the 31st Wallace March would be held in an independent Scotland but that was not to be, with 55 per cent of the population voting to remain in the Union.
Freelance photographer Alan Watson was on hand to capture the action and his pictures, featured in the slideshow created by editor Julie Currie, can be purchased on this website.