Power, precision and grace in the magnificent setting of Glamis Castle will offer equine fans a stunning spectacle this weekend.
In the return of ‘carriages at the castle’, the ancient landmark will see horses and drivers from throughout Britain back in Angus for the Attelage de Tradition which had become a highly-anticipated annual tradition prior to the pandemic.
The sport – a favourite of the late Duke of Edinburgh – uses carriages built more than 70 years ago and involves participants in a series of competitions.
Presentation of the immaculately turned out animals, owners and carriages will dominate Saturday’s proceedings.
The real test follows on Sunday when the 25 entries from across the UK take on an eight-mile routier phase through the estate, followed by the cones competition through a tricky course with the castle as its backdrop.
The Angus landmark hosted its first Attelage de Tradition in 2016 after forging a strong relationship with Glamis as an annual location for a general drive.
Organiser Richard Lanni is hopeful castle visitors will enjoy the spectacle as much as those taking part.
He said: “Glamis will be our first event since the pandemic so we are thoroughly looking forward to it.
“Because we are outside we can easily socially distance and we hope people will also want to get out and enjoy seeing the event.
“The weather looks very favourable so we are keeping our fingers crossed it will be a fine weekend.”
Richard added: “We even have a unicorn attending this weekend.
“It doesn’t have a horn in the middle of its head, but is in fact two horses side by side and another in front.
“The formation is quite unusual and what gives it the unicorn name.
“They are black Friesian horses and should make a lovely sight.
“We have a mix of turnouts for the weekends and are very pleased with the entry from that point of view.”
Duke of Edinburgh’s love of the sport
Prince Philip took up carriage driving following his retirement from polo in the 1970s and helped build its popularity.
He was part of the British team which won the 1980 World Carriage Driving Championships.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s love of the sport is shared by his granddaughter, Lady Louise, the daughter of Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, the Earl and Countess of Forfar.
At Prince Philip’s funeral in April, following his death at the age of 99, two of his carriage horses lined up in special tribute in the Windsor Castle quadrangle.
Black Fell ponies Balmoral Nevis and Notlaw Storm stood with Prince Philip’s four-wheeled carriage, and two of his grooms as the Land Rover hearse passed on its way to St George’s Chapel.
The stunning carriage was built to the Duke’s own exacting specifications and features a clock presented to him by the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars in the late 1970s as a gift marking 25 years as the regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief.
It can harness eight horses and seat four people.