Indeed lucky to be heading off to the Royal Edinburgh Tattoo tonight, with reserved seats in the Royal Enclosure.
We take a novel route to the Castle under the leadership of a humorous Scot, John. Leaving the Silver Wind, with the hills of Fyfe looming hazily across the Forth, we drive past the building that inspired J K Rowling to develop Hogwart’s School – Fettes College, where Tony Blair went to school.
Seeing the old honey-coloured sandstone stone buildings of 19th century, now coloured to crepuscular grey, in the ‘New Town’, which was developed to get away from the smog and coal dust from Edinburgh. Makes me want to return and see more. Palace front stone terraces with grand porticoes in the centre surround private gardens of established green in the Squares, with gas lights.
Our convoy gathers for a security check at the start of the ‘Royal Mile’, and with motor cycle Police escort we make the steep climb to the reach the Royal Box overlooking the Esplanade of the Castle.
The spectacle of 9,000 people gathered in the stands and the excitement as the massed pipes of the regiments come streaming out of the entrance to the Castle ‘like a conjurer pulling coloured ribbons from the sleeve’, bagpipes swirling. Bands of many countries perform not only band music but also dances reflecting the cultures of their countries. These include India, France, and the USA.
An unexpected spot of entertainment was the singing of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ with the finale sung by a soprano from the Japanese Armed Forces. The video is included in these pictures.
Then, high up in castle battlements everything goes dark; a sole piper appears playing a soul-stirring lament; followed with lines from Sir Walter Scott’s ‘Lay of the Last Minstrel’, and for effect, spoken in darkness.
“Land of the mountain and the flood,
Land of my sires! what mortal hand
Can e’er untie the filial band,
That knits me to thy rugged strand!
Scotland. Scotland the Brave!”
. . . and bagpipes swirl and fireworks explode filling the sky.
Last week Prince Charles and Prince William took the Salute. Tonight it is a French Rear-Admiral. After the performance, we joined the ‘brass and braid’ set for a Champagne and Canapés Reception before driving back to Silver Wind.
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