Hawick’s sunny streets were packed with onlookers on Saturday, all cheering-on soldiers of the Royal Scots Borderers before they leave for Belfast.
Thousands of wellwishers had lined the route of a parade by the battalion (1 SCOTS) to bid it farewell ahead of its move from Dreghorn Barracks in Edinburgh, where it has been based since the formation of The Royal Regiment of Scotland in 2006.
A column of troops, more than 200-strong, and led by their pipes and drums, came to a halt outside the town hall, to applause from the assembled crowds.
Honorary Provost of Hawick, Stuart Marshall, thanked the soldiers for all their efforts over the years.
The battalion will move in August to Palace Barracks in Belfast as part of the army’s rebasing programme, under the Army 2020 project.
Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Matt Munro, said it had been a great morning.
“The boys looked smart and the crowds were great. This is the home and the heartland of 1 SCOTS and that will forever be the case,” he commented. “One of the reasons for our parade here today is to say thank you to the people of the south of Scotland. We have maintained some very strong links here and we are very grateful for your help.
“In going to Northern Ireland we see an opportunity. It has a lot to offer. Most importantly, we are not going very far at all. We will take every opportunity to get back whenever we can.”
The battalion then presented the people of Hawick and the Borders with a pipe banner as a symbol of these links.