Blackmen make for Scarva and the sham fight

With Sunday being July Thirteenth, Scarva Day has been moved to Monday the Fourteenth, and all of Portadown’s 19 Black preceptories are bracing themselves for a day to remember.

The roll-call in Carleton Street is at 8.45am, ready for the ‘off’ at nine o’clock. The train will be taking the strain of the thousands making their way from the town station to the pristine ‘halt’ at Scarva which will experience its busiest day of the year. Usually just a couple of trains use the ‘halt’ each day to take commuters to Belfast on the ‘Newry’ train.

On the way to the station in the morning, the ‘Black’ parade will stop at Portadown’s War Memorial for a service and the laying of wreaths – a specially poignant ceremony this year, on the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One. It will symbolise the Fallen of the Orange Order over the years and of the Great War – ‘the war to end all wars’.

The Sir Knights will take the direct route from Carleton Street to the Portadown station at Wilson Street and they will help swell the population of Scarva from its current 350 to about 100,000 for the special annual day.

Preceptories from parts of Armagh and Down take to Scarva’s main street en route to the demesne, to Scarvagh House and to the sham fight where King William is the favourite to defeat James and his hordes once again. No bets are being taken…

There will be the usual visitors from overseas – invariably Canada, Australian and New Zealand – and the Thirteenth has a great turn-out of bands, with Scarva having a virtually monopoly of loyal order parades that day.

The detailed timetable is as follows -

08.45 - Roll-call Carleton Street.

09.00 - Parade leaves Carleton Street for service at town’s war memorial.

09.30 - First train leaves for Scarva.

11.15 - Parade in Scarva begins.

14.45 - Roll-call in field.

15.00 - Portadown District leaves field in Scarva.

15.15 - First train leaves Scarva for Portadown.

17.10 - Last train leaves Scarva for Portadown.

17.30 - District parades moves of from Wilson Street.

18.00 - Parade splits for feeder parades after Saluting Base at Church Street.

There will be a special innovation for the return parade. Instead of the district officers leading the march, that honour will go to the town Ex-Servicemen’s RBP 326, owing to the fact that WWI started 100 years ago.

The price of the adult train tickets remains the same as last year, £6, but the price of children’s tickets has increased to £5.

The district treasurer will be in Carleton Street Orange Hall on Tuesday, July 15 from 9am until 12 noon for collection of train ticket money.