Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Grouch's take the British Isles by land and by sea! Part 8 The Edinburgh Tattoo

So. after we finished the Royal Mile tour of Edinburgh we headed back to the ship to dry off, refuel, and get ready for the tattoo that evening.  We were a bit concerned that it would be a wet show but we were ready for any contingency.

August is when Edinburgh hosts the international book fair, the arts festival, the Fringe festival (all of the performances that weren't allowed in the main arts festival) and the counter-fringe festival (stuff event too avant-garde for the Fringe festival!).  Add to that the Military Tattoo and Edinburgh was jumping.   The streets were busy but everyone was in good humor and having a grand time.  

We felt that Edinburgh was the friendliest of the cities that we visited and definitely the most fun.

Early arrivers for the tattoo are corralled several block away from the entrance to the castle on a side street.  We arrived early enough that we were near the front of the crowd.  We had assigned seats so we really could have gotten there 5 minutes before the show started and still gotten in.  I stayed in the holding area while everyone else wandered off to see what they could see.  Security came through to check bags so I gave the young bag inspectors some fun-fruit candies that I had stashed in my backpack.  They were grateful.

The gates were opened and the crowd set off at a race walk to get to the castle.  Really there was no point in hurrying but everyone was so excited to be there, we couldn't help but trot up the street and towards the entrance to the stands.   

I found our seats in the stands (excellent seats, well done Missus!), dried them off with a towel brought from the ship, dried off the seats behind me for some ladies, and then waited the arrival of the rest of the group.

The weather cleared, the sun began to set, and my excitement built.  I had wanted to see the tattoo for years and never expected that I would be there to see it myself.  I couldn't wait for it to begin!

In this year's line up along with the expected pipe bands was a bollywood number and an east-meets-west performance.  To say I was skeptical is an understatement.  I wanted pipe bands and guns!  Also scheduled to perform was the PRC army marching band.  I wasn't going to give those Commies any slack or my applause.   

The bollywood number and the Chinese dragons and acrobatics were fun and the music bouncy and catchy.  I sat on my hands for the Chinese army band until the started singing, yes singing!  Not only could they march and play their instruments, they had singing voices to rival any professional male chorus.  I applauded enthusiastically.  I had to!

The crowd hurrying up the street to the Edinburgh castle where the performance was to be held
Great seats that promised a great view of the show.  The rain was done and the skies were clearing.

The performers were gathering including the lady piper in the center.

The Missus with two new friends!  She absolutely cannot resist a man in a kilt.

The Grouch doing his best not to knock over the Battle of Britain bell whilst getting his picture taken!

The show was starting.  The Lone Piper receives his shot of Scotch whisky from the senior officer present for the event.  The piper tosses it back and then with a shout turns the cup upside down to prove that he has finished it all.  We'll see him again later.

The marching band from the Citadel in South Carolina appeared at the tattoo

The Missus and I are suckers for kilts, bagpipes, pageantry, and girls doing Scottish dancing.  We were in heaven.

The Citadel band

A Bollywood show!  What next?

The Top-Secret drum corps from Switzerland, a big hit with the crowd.

A tribute to the Battle of Britain.  The show began with a low pass by an RAF Hercules transport plane.  The RAF band and singers performed at the show.

The U.S.A.F. precision silent drill team.  Go Air Force!

The massed musicians including fiddle players from the Shetland islands and the mainland Chinese army band and chorus - the band members were the chorus too!

Fireworks too!

I bet that officer was sweating it, being the man out front like that!

I absolutely love pageantry like this!

The lone piper.


  1. I thought you were getting a tattoo.

  2. Karl, just by happenstance, I took a look at your blog. Are you in Scottland now? What a great look! Love all the photos. Esp the horse sculptures--wowee!