Three camels and a donkey come to rural Scotland for Christmas procession

The nativity story is being brought to life in a small Scottish village on Saturday with the help of three real camels.

The camels will join a nativity procession through Carstairs in Lanarkshire, southern Scotland.

The village has been transformed into a winter wonderland for the occasion, with the junction end of the village becoming Nazareth and the village itself becoming Bethlehem.

Even the street signs have been changed to reflect transformation.

Three live camels and a donkey will accompany Mary and Joseph and the other characters during the parade.

The addition of the live animals is the brainchild of Carstairs minister the Rev Alan Gibson, who wants to share the Christmas message with the community in an engaging and eye-catching way.

He said the event would go ahead tomorrow and that contingency plans were in place for bad weather.

“The camels are quite happy with snow, and a special vehicle is transporting them up to Scotland," he said.

“Thankfully my next door neighbour runs a gritting company, and both he and the local council have given assurances that the roads and pavements will be well gritted for the public.

“We had a slight concern over the village green, because parts of the ground were frozen solid, but we have been able to put up the marquees as planned.

“Thankfully, the local bus company, who sadly wound up their business recently, have offered their old warehouse for free, and it is ideally placed next to the green should the weather change.”

The nativity procession has caught the imagination of the local community, with two local primary schools, a mother and toddler group, the police, the council and the local football team getting involved to make the day happen.

Biscuit giants Tunnocks have also come on board, donating 2,000 caramel wafers to help with publicity.

Instead of the traditional packets, they have produced special limited edition “camel” wafers.

In addition to bringing the community together, Mr Gibson hopes many will feel encouraged and challenged to think about the birth of Jesus over the Christmas period.

He said: “The whole community here have come together in a quite incredible way, and there is great deal of excitement about our Christmas celebration.

“In previous years, our church has always celebrated Christmas within the four walls of the building. This year, however, Christmas is being celebrated by the community, and we are very grateful to the many people who have made this happen.

“We all get caught up in the frantic pace of Christmas, and our hope is that people will come along on Saturday, and simply enjoy the real meaning of Christmas."