AROUND 400 soldiers from 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland took to the streets of Ayr for a parade to mark their homecoming.

Many of the solders are local, so people were out in force to welcome them home after a six month tour of Iraq, South Sudan and Cyprus.

The pipes and drums were accompanied by loud applause and cheering from an appreciative public as the troops marched through the heart of Ayr, led by Corporal Cruachan IV – the Regimental Mascot. The Shetland pony was unruffled by the crowds as he led the way to the town hall for a special ceremony.

It’s been a long but rewarding six months for 2 SCOTS as they took part in operations to provide peace and stability in some of the most dangerous parts of the world.

In Iraq the soldiers were based in the Kurdistan region providing training to local security forces.

Working just outside Baghdad, soldiers from the battalion also linked up with an Australian and Spanish led-Coalition to help stabilise the region.

Overseas tours ensure the soldiers from 2 SCOTS gain valuable experience and at the Town Hall, Lieutenant Toomey, Corporal Morrison, Fusilier Brady, Fusilier Aitken and Fusilier McGuffie all received Operational ServiceMedals for their distinguished service in Iraq.

The soldiers also took the opportunity to add hundreds of crochet and knitted poppies to a remembrance banner in the town hall. The poppies have been made by members of the public to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War and the banner will feature at Remembrance Day events.