Tynwald Day at St Johns in the Isle of Man

The ancient tradition of Tynwald Day in the Isle of Man has been taking place annually for more than a thousand years, back to the days of the Vikings.
On July 5 every year, crowds gather to celebrate the island’s independent parliament sitting in session on Tynwald Hill.
I was there on a sunny day last year to witness this unique ceremony of the world’s oldest un-broken government.
A brass band was marching across the grass square, surrounded by seated and standing crowds.
Groups of cadets could be seen gathered at the sides, preparing themselves for the procession.
Morris dancers entertained the crowds and a thunderous RAF fly past graced the sky.
Witches Hill in the background.
Dominating the background in front of me was a large and haunting forest-filled hill.
This steep hill is called Slieau Whallian but is often referred to locally as Witches Hill.
According to Manx folklore, those who were thought to be witches were placed in spiked barrels and rolled down the hill.
If they managed to survive, this was evidence that they were in fact witches and they were burnt at the stake instead. They were basically stuffed either way.
Before long the procession began with various officials and their hat-wearing partners who looked like they were attending a day at the races.
Members of the Manx Government made their way to the seats at the top of Tynwald Hill and the proceedings began.
It was interesting to hear the Manx language being spoken during the ceremony, as this like many ancient languages has largely died out.