Sunday, August 30, 2009

Edinburgh Tattoo

Even though we are going to be in Edinburgh later this week, the Tattoo isn’t…so if we wanted to see it, it meant a two hour bus ride from Greenock, so off we went…

Scottish countryside…resembling that of the other British Isles…lush and green…

The first records of Stirling Castle are from 1110 A.D. The castle overlooks vast farm lands and is open to the public year round. The esplanade or parade ground is used as an open-air concert venue.

More countryside showing the expanse of farm land…

They had been forecasting rain for today. The Tattoo has never been cancelled, and as it is held outside, you take your chances. It rained on the way there and then this lovely rainbow appeared. We were hoping it was a good sign…

Here we are starting the steep climb up to Edinburgh Castle. Jim asked our tour captain if the climb was steep and she said “no, not bad at all.” Morale of the story, don’t ask a young person if a climb is steep! It was a good hike on cobblestoned streets…

Entering the gates of the castle…the Edinburgh Military Tattoo is celebrating its 60th year and this is also the Year of Homecoming in Scotland marking the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns.

Beautiful Edinburgh Castle…

The Canadian flag flying directly over the sign for the Tattoo….yay Canada! I have to mention the seating arrangements at this point. How many sardines can you fit in the stadium seats? We could not move our arms without disturbing the person next to us; our legs touched the backs of the person in front of us…and the ratio of persons to porta-potties would have been about 900:1. Having said that…the rest of the evening was spectacular…

The Massed Pipes and Drums bringing the awesome sight and sounds of 200 of the world’s finest pipers and drummers…

The Tongan Royal Corps of Musicians…a 50-strong brass band and ethnic group with their South Sea Island magic…

She Huo Cultural Act from Xi’an, China (Edinburgh’s twin city)…very colourful…

Look at the horses perform “on stilts"...they were just amazing...

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Swiss Army Central Band, their elite military orchestra…they grouped into the shape of a cross to represent their flag…

Top Secret Drum Corps, one of the world’s most sensational percussion groups…I had no idea they would starting drumming with fire when I was recording…a bonus!!

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The Massed Military Bands and Massed Pipes and Drums RAF Bands…

The group included the bands from Scotland, Tonga and Switzerland…

They lit the castle with several different colours…here it is in sensational green…

The RAF Bands performing Amazing Grace with the crowd joining in…

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More than 1000 performers filling the esplanade…

This was a very touching moment when a lone piper appeared on the castle wall to play tribute to the last survivor of WWI. They first showed a picture of him in his military uniform and this picture of him in his later years…

The bands leaving the Esplanade…

The Halifax Tattoo bands are of the same calibre, but this setting with Edinburgh Castle as the backdrop was unique…

Tomorrow we are in Belfast, Ireland…

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