Archers celebrate Montrose 450

The Royal Company of Archers parade during an earlier visit to Montrose.
The Royal Company of Archers parade during an earlier visit to Montrose.

THERE will be a rare opportunity to watch the age-old practice of longbow shooting on Montrose Links this Friday when the Royal Company of Archers will stage a demonstration.

While golf has been played over the links for 450 years, more than four centuries ago archery was just as popular and the Royal Company will demonstrate their skills as guests of the Montrose 450 celebrations.

The Sovereign’s Bodyguard in Scotland since 1822, the Royal Company still carry their bows while on official duties and shoot in competitions around the country but as their Montrose visit is not a ceremonial occasion, they will not be attired in their familiar court dress worn at state events such as the Royal garden parties at Holyrood and the investiture of new Knights of The Thistle.

Walter Simpson, Royal Company member, said: “Instead, we’ll be wearing the outfits we don for archery events, consisting of a green shooting blazer and bonnet.

“This is the sort of archery that would have been practiced on Montrose Links 450 years ago.”

Starting at 11.30am the demonstration shoot over a distance of 180 yards will be open to members of the public and, if weather permits, should last for around one hour and provide onlookers with the impressive spectacle of long bows shooting arrows across the links.

David May, chairman of the Montrose 450 organising committee, said he was delighted when the Royal Company accepted the invitation to participate in the celebrations.

He said: “The return of archery to Montrose Links is a wonderful, and highly appropriate, addition to our programme of special events, providing onlookers with a chance to see one of the activities that took place here when golf was in its infancy.”

Mr May added that the Royal Company of Archers will not be the only ones turning the clock back at Montrose Links over the next few weeks.

He said: “On August 31, there will be a replay of one of the most famous rounds of golf in Montrose’s 450-year history of the game.

“Jamie Graham, son and heir of the 8th Duke of Montrose, and Patrick Colqhuoun of Luss will re-enact the game played by their ancestors in 1629, when, on the night before his wedding, the first Marquis of Montrose, also James Graham, played golf with the Laird of Luss.”

Further information about Montrose 450 is available online at or by calling 01674 672634 while more information about Carnoustie Country and its golf courses can be found at