Tonight we attended the Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle. With relatively good weather during today we were hopeful that it might continue into the evening, but rather predictably the heavens opened and the rain began to pour down.
By the time we arrived at the Castle it was decidedly wet, with limited views across Edinburgh from under the seating.
We made our way to our seats and, after wiping the water from them, sat down. A few minutes later, the show started, with the arrival through the Castle‘s gatehouse of various pipe bands from Scotland, Australia and South Africa.
Umbrellas aren’t allowed at the Tattoo, to ensure that the people behind you have a good view, so everyone was kitted out in various forms of waterproof clothing.
The rain continued to fall, but that didn’t deter the performers, who marched up and down the parade ground, with Highland dancers emerging to dance amongst them.
After the pipe bands left the parade ground, soldiers wheeled in a mock stone circle, which was followed by youngsters dressed as Picts.
In a piece of savvy marketing, this was to tie in with the release of Disney Pixar’s Brave, with music from the soundtrack performed by the band. Luckily for all concerned, performers and audience alike, the rain stopped falling at this point.
This was followed by a celebration of Scotland’s most famous export, whisky, with a whisky still forming the centrepiece for dancers dressed in amber-coloured dresses.
Next to perform were the Australian Defence Force Band, who entered the parade ground with the Castle lit up with a projection of musical notes.
They started off with the traditional and sedate Waltzing Matilda, but soon switched up a gear to Kylie Minogue’s “Spinning Around”, with lights and members of the band climbing up into the stands to get the crowd on their feet.
Dennis the Menace and his Beano stablemate Minnie the Minx made an appearance, riding their BMXs mischievously around the marching bands, before performing stunts.
The cartoon character theme continued with the arrival of the U.S. Naval Forces Europe Band, performing their now traditional medley of cartoon theme tunes while the characters appear as a backdrop on the Castle. Making their appearance were Bananaman, Spiderman and Batman amongst others.
Tattoo favourites the Top Secret Drum Corps from Basel in Switzerland were the next performers onto the Castle Esplanade, and they didn’t disappoint, with another of their usual technically-demanding performances.
Their performance was inspired by computing technology and featured lights on their drums which lit up in time with music, and backdrops of binary numbers and circuit boards.
Various British regimental bands came out next, including, I think, the bands of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Scotland, The Queen’s Division, The King’s Division and The Royal Air Force.
Next out were the Massed Pipes and Drums, including the band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, closely followed by their mascot Cruchan III, a 22 year old Shetland pony appearing in his last Tattoo.
With the Massed Pipes and Drums performing on the parade ground, the slightest of laser shows was going on above the stands.
The Massed Pipes and Drums were joined by Highland dancers, I believe from the Erskine Stewart’s Melville Schools and / or the Queen Victoria School in Dunblane, for a re-enactment of the Queen’s Coronation, with Westminster Abbey, flags, and an image of the Queen herself projected onto the Castle.
In an explosive climax, fireworks were then launched from the Castle‘s battlements.
The grand finale involved all of the performers gathered together on the Castle Esplanade.
With an image of poppies and the tomb of The Unknown Warrior projected onto the Castle, a moment was taken to remember the soldiers who have given their lives in conflicts around the World.
The Last Post was played from the Castle‘s battlements.
Followed as always by the Lone Piper playing a haunting lament.
An image of the Saltire was then projected onto the Castle, while a second firework display got under way.
With the audience joining arms for a rendition of Auld Lang’s Syne, the performers made their way out of the parade ground, followed by Dennis the Menace and Minnie the Minx on their bikes.
The crowds began filtering out soon afterwards, the Tattoo over for another year. We followed the throng down the Royal Mile, calling in for a swift pint at The Albannach on the way home.
Tickets for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo are available to buy via Ticketmaster.