The Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo, A look into Scotland’s history

28 Dec

Today, the Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo is is Scotland’s biggest, best-selling spectacle, attracting an international audience each year of some 217,000 people and seen by almost 100 million people in 30 countries. 63 years ago the Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo was just a display consisting of three groups; The Royal Scots, The Highland Light Infantry and the Woman’s Royal Army Corp; as they marched and played with the Edinburgh Castle as the backdrop. The following year of 1950 saw the first incarnation of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo as the event grew to having 8 participating groups. In the 62 years since the first Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo it has grown to be the grand event that we see today were almost two dozen international group come to Edinburgh, Scotland every August.

The military tattoo dates back almost four hundred years when the Scottish regiments were part of the Dutch mercenary troops. They would march out at night and beat on drums to let the tavern owners know it time to turn off the taps and send the soldiers back to the barracks for the night. In later years when military complexes became more self contained the nightly patrol of the troops has become more of a ceremony announcing the end of the day. That ceremony has since become known as the military tattoo or tap toe.

When you do see the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo you are witness to a sight you won’t forget as the hush of night falls over Edinburgh Castle, the gates and drawbridge open. The sounds of bagpipes and drums fill the air as meshed soldiers march out across the castle drawbridge followed by two of the most well known heroes in Scottish history, Robert of Bruce and Sir William Wallace. The audience is then regaled with daredevil motorcyclist, fireworks, highland dancing, music and precession marching of the international troops. When the spectacle winds down, and the audience is still in awe of all that they have just witness, we hear a voice shout through the crowds saying “Will ye no come back again’?”. Once the question is ask a might roar of the crowd answers “Oh, yes and very soon.”

There are many other things to see and do while you are in Edinburgh taking in the Royal Military Tattoo. One of those is to visit Edinburgh Castle itself and take in some of the rich history of Edinburgh Castle as well as the Monarchy of Scotland. Once there you can view the history of Edinburgh castle that goes back over 2,000 years when archaeologist say the first human settlement inhabited the area around the rock that now houses Edinburgh Castle. It isn’t until 1130 A.D when there David I builds the first Castle on the site and dedicates it to his mother Queen Margret. Afte3r Edinburgh Castle was built it became the royal residence for the next 500 years seeing many invasions, such as, the taking of the Castle in 1296. Edinburgh Castle was last occupied by a monarch in 1633 by Charles I right before he was crowned the King of Scotland.

If you are one for all the gory details of Scotland’s history you might visit the Edinburgh Dungeon where you can buy a ticket to tour the dungeon, hear about the bloody 500 year history and take 2 frighting rides. While there you just might meet up with the ghost of one of the many prisoners that have been housed in the walls of Edinburgh Dungeon. One of those ghost might be Sir William Wallace, of Braveheart fame, who was held there before being put through a grizzly torture and death.




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