Temperance Flute Walk

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Temperance Walk
William Buchan, Taezali, St. Combs

'The Walk' - 3 days of temperance walks - is held every year at the Buchan Rathen coastal villages of St Combs, Inverallochy and Cairnbulg in the North East of Scotland. Local walkers, led by flute players and people playing drums and triangles, have been carrying out this tradition for 160 years. The first couple to walk behind the flute band is the oldest man of the village with a female partner, followed by other walkers. Once one village has been ‘walked’ walked round the walkers get on buses and walk round the other two villages.

This tradition started in the 19th Century in response to a period of ‘anti-social’ behaviour and drunkenness during a tough patch in the area’s history. This, followed by a cholera outbreak, saw villagers take to religion and temperance. Originally a Temperance Parade to celebrate Christmas, or Auld Eel ('Yule' January 5, the date of Christmas under the Gregorian calendar) each of the villages takes its turn to host the walk (or walks) which now end on 2nd January. The first Walk is on Christmas Day, followed by another on New Year’s Day and the last on the 2nd January.

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