A parade of 200 marched through Inverness yesterday to mark one of the city’s oldest traditions.
Provost Helen Carmichael led the procession which included several councillors and community council members, local schools and youth groups.
About 25 public servants from the Bavarian city of Augsburg joined in the fun to mark 60 years of the twinning arrangement between the two cities.
The Kirking of the Council is held on the second Sunday of September each year and is rooted in a tradition dating back 400 years.
It involves a message for the council being delivered via a church service.
Mrs Carmichael was joined by several colleagues – most wearing red gowns as they strode down Church Street to the Old High St Stephen’s Church, where the service was led by the Rev Peter Nimmo.
Hundreds of visitors and members of the public lined the streets to witness the colourful spectacle, which was enhanced by a number of the German delegates donning 16th century German costumes.
Inverness South councillor Ken Gowans, who was part of the parade, said: “The Rev Nimmo’s sermon focused on the unification of people, and in a local context about how in the aftermath of Brexit, communities need to work together and value each other individually, particularly by helping the most vulnerable people.
“That was broadened out to include countries and the changing face of Europe post Brexit and how we need to work hard to strengthen our resolve to keep these relationships.
“The kirking is an important occasion from the perspective of councillors to realise that they are there to serve their communities. In terms of the event, it’s been going for over 400 years and every year it seems to get stronger. It’s very colourful and it’s great for the tourists and great way to involve people from across our communities in something that is very special for Inverness”.
Councillor Gowans added that the deputy mayor of Augsburg, Dr Stefan Kiefer, made a speech during yesterday’s service.
Dr Kiefer spoke about the importance of the town twinning, and that friendships would be maintained post Brexit because the history of the twinning has been built through people rather than politics.
Silvia Philip, a member of the visiting delegation from Augsburg, said: “It was a very nice meeting and all of the people from Augsburg are very impressed by the hospitality and warmth from the people in your city.
“It was a very great moment and is good for the existing friendship between our two cities.”