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A day out fit for a king and queen

17 July 2012

                                       Coursing, the sport of queens

The centuries-old pastimes that once entertained royal families in Holyrood Park will be on display for all to see this Sunday in capital’s former hunting ground.

Historic Scotland’s Ranger Service is inviting visitors to step back in time at the July 22nd event, and enjoy a free fun-filled day showcasing ancient sports and royal pursuits.

Interpretation Ranger Matt McCabe said: “We wanted to give visitors an opportunity to learn about fascinating traditional outdoor activities which are less common today.
“They’ll have an opportunity to try their hand at archery, a favoured sport of kings and commoners through the ages. Falconry was another great pastime, and we’ll have a variety of magnificent birds of prey here for people to see up close.”

If ground conditions permit, the event will also be hosting artificial lure coursing with whippets. This sport was formalised by Queen Elizabeth I, and has since become known at “The Sport of Queens”.

Matt added: “Our Royal Pursuits event runs from 11am until 3pm, and is a perfect opportunity for visitors to learn more about the long heritage of these activities and their links to the rich past of Holyrood Park, together with its importance as a royal hunting ground.

“This is the fourth year we’ve been running this event which is always a popular and entertaining day out. If people haven’t come to Holyrood Park before, why not come along on Sunday – it’s a great way of being introduced to the Park and try something different.”

For more information people should contact the Ranger Service on 0131 652 8150, or by email, at

Photo caption
Action from last year’s Royal Pursuits event at Holyrood Park, which captured the excitement of whippet coursing, known as “The Sport of Queens”, using artificial lures. (Photo by Douglas Robertson.)

Notes for editors:

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with ensuring that our historic environment provides a strong foundation for a successful future for Scotland. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

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  • The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and will spotlight and celebrate Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland. More information about the programme can be found at:

  • The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL. More information and resources to help businesses engage with Year of Creative Scotland are available at

                                                       Year of Creative Scotland 2012

For further information

David Gray
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8588 or 07854 366 805