Alex Salmond at the Opening of Parliament, 2011

Accession Number:spa.731.67

This photograph was taken on 1st July, 2011 to mark the opening of Parliament and capture ‘The Riding’. The Riding of the Parliament is a processional ceremony. The first Riding of Parliament took place on the 31st August 1639 and was undertaken at the opening of each parliament until a few years before the Treaty of Union in 1707.

The ‘Riding’ down the Royal Mile to Holyrood echoes this ceremony and features schoolchildren, community groups and representatives of civic society from every constituency in Scotland who were nominated by their MSP’s.

The 2011 Riding was themed to reflect the Parliament’s Mace, which has engraved on the head the words ‘Wisdom, Justice, Compassion and Integrity’ – these are a reference to the ideals that the people of Scotland aspire to for their Members of Parliament.

The Scottish Political Archive is housed at the University of Stirling. The archive is home to the oral interviews, personal papers and associated material from prominent Scottish politicians. For further information about the work of the archive please visit our website