Pinkie march

The Free Colliers annual demonstration is being held this Saturday in Reddingmuirhead.

The march, known locally as the ‘Pinkie Walk’ will start at noon and head down Colliery Road/Livingston Terrace to Redding Cross and on to Redding Memorial where a Saltire wreath will be laid in memory of the 40 miners who died in the Redding Pit disaster of 1923.

The 10-mile march will then move through Laurieston, Westquarter and Brightons. where speeches will take place before finishing in Shieldhill Road.

The event marks colliers’ rights as free men and participants dress in formal wear and link pinkies to symbolise their unity. It has taken place on the first Saturday of August since the 19th century.

Top hats and tail coats will be in abundance to celebrate the history of the Sir William Wallace Grand Lodge of Scotland, Free Colliers.

The Reddingmuirhead group is the first and last one of its kind which continues the time-honoured tradition of marching to demonstrate their forefathers’ rights as free men.

In the 18th century miners were treated as slaves and could be bound, along with their children, to pit owners for the duration of their lives and the march is significant in local history.

After winning their freedom from owners in around 1798, miners in Redding and the surrounding villages started the annual march to the Wallace Stone from colliery to colliery.