This year’s annual Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo was in celebration of Scotland’s natural beauty as visitors from all over the world gather around Edinburgh Castle to see a performance unlike any other. Awe-inspiring Massed Pipes and Drums, Massed Military Bands, display teams and dancers from every corner of the globe unite as one for an international performance spectators will never forget.The music reflects the past, reminding us all that the freedom and glory we have today came with suffering and loss from our ancestors. These pipers and drummers are soldiers first and musicians second. Lest we forget.
The Edinburgh Castle’s haunting historical backdrop surrounded by flaring torches sets the tone for the evening, changing with each performance. Projected images and shadow plays were used to enhance displays for each season used in this year’s theme. The lighting throughout the night was impressive as each step marched by the soldiers and danced by the dancers is perfectly timed out, adding another dimension to the show. Imps Motorcycle Display Team took you to the edge of your seat as their stunt team drove backwards on their bikes and created pyramids. They were all under the age of 16 with the youngest performer aged 6. One of the life-sized horses used in War Horse also made an appearance throughout the evening.
As the evening comes to a close all performers take their places and a single spotlight shines upon the Lone Piper. Fireworks conclude the evening as the crowd sings ‘Auld Lan Syne’, holding the hands of the person next to them. All bands exit playing Scotland the Brave as the crowd claps along. If you are visiting Scotland during August I hope you have the chance to experience this incredible event.
If you have ever wondered why bedrooms in castles are not necessarily finished I’m here to tell you it is because when royalty traveled they would take every piece of furniture with them, even the tapestries! The Edinburgh Castle is located on an old volcanic rock towering over the city, as you can see from the photo above. While inside the castle it feels as if you have stepped into a village way back when, with traditionally dressed impersonators walking about.
We first went to the great hall in the castle for some Christmas carols, and they echoed throughout the square in the castle. Scotland’s crowned jewels are kept at Edinburgh castle and were once buried after a Treaty of Union between Scotland and England. They were found 111 years later! It’s a ‘proud to be Canadian’ moment when reading the story, and how the plans of where the Honours of Scotland (another name for the crowned jewels) had been hidden. The plans were only shared with four people and one of them was the Governor General of Canada. They are now located in the clock tower, pictured right. The oldest building in the castle is Saint Margaret’s Chapel from the 12th century. It’s amazing how small the doors are considering their dresses were so big. Also in the castle is a Prisoners of War exhibit, Scottish National War Memorial (where one of my relative’s name is displayed) and National War and Regiment museums.
Over in Glasgow, the Glasgow Cathedral is the only medieval church in Scotland to have survived. The building in the photo to the left was built in 1197, has been worshiping God for more than 800 years and is still an active church. The building has never been unroofed, they knew how to build to last! The cathedral is in front of the Glasgow Necropolis, a 37 acre cemetery garden from Victorian times.