The University of St Andrews has a lively array of traditions, from Raisin Monday (can't possibly explain in a few words) to May Dip (students run in to the freezing North Sea at dawn on May Day).  Courtesy of a resident source,  here's another tradition - the Kate Kennedy procession. Students in the procession portray characters from the University's 600 year history, including Robert the Bruce, John Cleese, Mary Queen of Scots and Rudyard Kipling.  Kate Kennedy herself was apparently the niece of Bishop Kennedy, the founder of the University's St Salvator's College.  The character of Kate is played each year by a first year male student. 

It was the end of a long working week during which I had written goodness knows how many thousand words when I wrote this post, and my brain rather ran out of words at this point.  So this paragraph is an update to the original, to mention that the university's Kate Kennedy Club, which stages the procession, originally only accepted male members.  The club is a mixture of charitable good works and highly selective entry processes.  Prince William was a member when he was at St Andrews.  When the first female Principal of the university, Louise Richardson, arrived in 2009, she withdrew university support for the club because it excluded students on gender grounds.  By 2012 the club had abandoned its men-only policy.  The Principal has been involved in another gender issue: the university's Principal is traditionally made an honorary member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews.  However because she is a woman the Club refused to extend membership to Professor Richardson. Recently the Club voted to admit female members, but Professor Richardson was not among the first 15 women admitted. Small minds.  Gie them laldie, Louise! 

Back to the now calmer waters of the procession.  Horses are involved.


As are bishops.

I wish I could tell you who these characters are.  A rich mixture.

And of course when there are horses involved there is always the moment when someone doesn't look where they're stepping.


  1. With horses around one would think they'd take great care to watch their step!

    Excellent shots!

  2. I love hearing about traditions in other countries. Loved your photos - and had a good chuckle over your last one! :)

  3. What great weather for a procession. I quite like processions, there is always so much to see. I realise that I know very little about Scotland, its towns and traditions, despite living here. Shame on me!

  4. Looks like a lot of fun except for the gift from the horse!

  5. It was a great parade to see. The colors are bright as your days seem a little gray at this time. Horses only follow at the end of our parades anymore.

  6. Well, guess what? That's my son Alan looking smart in the army kilt in the last shot (obviously he was more careful where he was putting his brogues...) I'm told he was representing Joseph Duthie who was the first St Andrews student to be killed in WW2, Great to see some photos of the event.

    Best wishes

  7. Amazing! And that susiemac sees her son on your post. I had never heard of these St. Andrews traditions before. Very interesting indeed. This further confirms my notion that St. Andrews is a bit of a world apart!

  8. I love a good local tradition - these kinds of quirky customs are fascinating and make life all the richer. It looks like quite a spectacle and the weather looks great :)
    Cathy x


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