Edinburgh is famous for many things but of course the iconic castle sitting proudly at the head of the Royal Mile overseeing the city is a take-home sight for all tourists. Though I may not be a tourist, this is still one of my favourite views and what better way to showcase its history and beauty than attending The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo held at its base.
Having purchased last minute and half price tickets to this year’s Tattoo preview show, a friend and I looked forward to an event we have watched religiously on our television screens but never attended in person.
When we arrived in Edinburgh, it was all a bit of a rush to get our tickets due to a slight 40 mile detour on our journey through. But after our hill workout we joined the very, very long queue to get into the event. With an audience is around 217,000 spread over the month of August there’s plenty of people eager to see the world-famous spectacle and we felt lucky to have tickets to what has now been a sold out event for the last 13 years.
As we shuffled to our seats, it was still light but turning to dusk and later a clear dark sky which proved perfect ambience for the performance if not the best lighting for my poor little camera.
As the show started we were instantly impressed by the piped military bands. This year’s show has a few new performances from the likes of the Mongolian Military Band with performers managing to encompass playing, historical re-enactment and even gymnastics into there performance. The New Zealand Army Band were probably one of my favourites and put a new twist on the tradition military band, playing modern hits and adding a few dance routines. Of course there were old favourites as well, such as The Imps Motorcycle Display Team and Tattoo Highland Dancers. This year also features a visit from London West End show’s War Horse and of course the lone piper standing high up on the walls of Edinburgh Castle is always a highlight.
The finale is always a spectacular sight, even just on the small screen, but Massed Pipes and Drums in the flesh is an amazing display. Not only the spectacle of the performers marching perfectly in rows through each other’s lines but the sound of all the pipes and drums playing in sync is something to not to be missed. This year’s end performance includes the 1st Royal Tank Regiment; 1st Battalion Scots Guards; The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland; 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment; The Royal Guard of Oman; and Wallace Pipes and Drums from Malta.
Having finally seen The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo live I give it a five star rating. Very little can take away from this event with a perfect and quintessentially Scottish setting showcasing both home and international music and dance, military precision and marching and even a some death defying stunts to keep you on the edge of your seat.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is running from August 2nd -24th but this year has sold out. For details of 2014’s performance please check the official site.