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Bannockburn anniversary ban for skean dhu blades

Organisers of next year's 700th anniversary celebration of the Battle of Bannockburn have banned attendees from wearing skean dhus. Picture: Reuters

Organisers of next year's 700th anniversary celebration of the Battle of Bannockburn have banned attendees from wearing skean dhus. Picture: Reuters

SKEAN dhus, a blade traditionally worn with Highland dress, have been banned by organisers of the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.

• National Trust of Scotland ban skean-dhus from Battle of Bannockburn anniversary

• Outcry as traditional blade, which is legal to carry as part of Highland dress, is outlawed by festival organisers

The celebration takes place next year and will be overseen by the National Trust for Scotland, who have told attendees that they will not be permitted to bring the blades to the event.

Skean dhus are exempt from laws surrounding the carrying of weapons in Scotland, but organisers claim carrying the traditional dagger in a public place constitutes an offence.

The festival, taking place in June next year, is expected to attract around 45,000 visitors. It will mark Robert the Bruce’s victory over the English in 1314.

A statement from NTS and Unique Events read: “The Bannockburn Live team are working closely with Stirling Council and Police Scotland to ensure that health and safety procedures are a high priority for the family event in 2014.

“As standard with public events of this scale, sharp objects will not be permitted into the arena.

“We respect the rights of individuals to celebrate their history and cultural traditions at Bannockburn Live, but this also needs to balance with the rights of the general public to enjoy the event safely, and with no inconvenience.”

The ruling has led to an outcry from clan and heritage groups, who have labelled the ban “absurd”.

Mark Sutherland-Fisher, a past president of the Clan Sutherland Society, told the Sunday Mail: “If Robert the Bruce was reincarnated today, would they take his skean dhu away from him? It is absurd to be prohibited from wearing what is recognised as part of Highland dress.”

Graeme Mackenzie, chairman of the Association of Highland Clans, also said the move was “over the top”.

Police Scotland said: “We have not had an approach from the enactment people for any advice. The law states quite clearly that if is part of a national dress it is not an offence.”

 

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