26 Jul 2009

Gathering of the clans in Scotland

5:58 am on 26 July 2009

A two-day celebration of Scottish culture and heritage is underway in Edinburgh.

The Gathering of the clans, described by organisers as the biggest of its kind, is part of celebrations marking 250 years since the birth of the national poet, Robert Burns.

The BBC reports 100 clan chiefs will be assembled together for the first time in recorded history. Hundreds of clan representatives from across the world are also in attendance.

The Gathering began on Saturday, with more than 20,000 people watching the Highland Games in Holyrood Park.

It was officially opened by the Duke of Rothesay, who said it was a unique event.

Scotland's first minister Alex Salmond said the Gathering showed the enduring strength of Scottish national identity.

It culminates with a clan parade along the Royal Mile and a pageant on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle.