RIDERS from all over the world attracted crowds of spectators at the Edinburgh Riding of the Marches yesterday.

Despite a “boggy” morning, afternoon sunshine helped boost the turnout, with more than 20,000 people watching the historical finale of more than 280 horses and 100 pipes and drums on the city’s Royal Mile.

The event is a re-enactment of the return of the Captain of the Trained Band – responsible for keeping order within the city – to Edinburgh, with the tragic news of defeat at the Battle of Flodden in 1513.

Organisers said numbers were even higher than in 2016, with horse- riders coming from as far afield as the US and Australia to take part.

“It’s been fantastic – even better than last year with numbers easily exceeding last year’s crowd of 20,000,” said a spokeswoman.

“In the afternoon the crowd was around 10 deep in places and there was a ceilidh in the middle of the Royal Mile.

“A boggy start saw one rider and horse take a muddy slide but fortunately they were unhurt and it was a very successful morning.”

The Edinburgh Riding of the Marches takes its roots from the historical Common Ridings of Scotland. It starts at 9.30am with gallops through the freshly-harvested stubble fields surrounding the city centre.

The riders then continue their journey through Holyrood Park before finally traversing up the Royal Mile.

The cavalcade of horses this year was led Edinburgh Captain Dean Smith and Edinburgh Lass Kiera Robertson, supported by former Royal Marine First Officer Alfie Cummings.

Additional acts introduced for nearly four hours of entertainment this year included the Jacobites, who founded the Edinburgh Street Ceilidh, and the Riders of the Storm stunt team who performed acrobatics in the High Street.

Also performing at the event were the St Ronan’s Silver Band and pipe bands from Edinburgh’s George Heriot’s School and Erskine Stewart’s Melville Schools.

The highlight of the afternoon was the return of the City of Edinburgh Banner which was presented by Smith to Frank Ross, the City of Edinburgh’s recently-appointed Lord Provost and Lord Lieutenant. It was the first time the new Lord Provost has taken part in the event which concludes a symbolic tradition of inspecting the common land, dating back to at least 1494.

Now in its ninth year of modern-day revival, the Edinburgh Riding of the Marches is organised entirely by a group of volunteers who work throughout the year to raise money to fund the event.

This year the charity partner was The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) .

The principal charity of the Royal Navy, it supports sailors, marines and their families for life.

The charity raises funds for projects and facilities that boost morale for those who serve today, distributing millions of pounds annually to military charities which care for children, families and veterans of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.