Video: Sea of tartan kicks-off Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2017

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THIS year’s Tattoo promised more tartan than a Bay City Rollers-themed wedding on Burns Night and it did not disappoint.

Under the theme Splash of Tartan, the 68th edition of the world-famous military parade celebrates its Scottish roots with aplomb.

The 2017 Royal Military Tattoo, Edinburgh Castle. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The 2017 Royal Military Tattoo, Edinburgh Castle. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Taking inspiration from VisitScotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, the organisers have worked closely this year with the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs in a bid to explore the country’s rich clan heritage and the ways in which Highland culture continue to influence Scotland and its people today.

Fifty-seven of Scotland’s clans are represented in the soul-stirring extravaganza and more than 3,000 kinsmen will be joined by their chiefs by the Tattoo’s end.

Last year’s “star man” was the late David Bowie, this summer it’s Bonnie Prince Charlie, which ties in neatly with the excellent Jacobites exhibition currently ongoing at the National Museum of Scotland. A re-enactment of the famous Ambush in the Glen was executed in an explosions-a-plenty, yet tasteful, manner.

Headline act, the 250-strong Massed Pipes and Drums, was a veritable invasion of the senses with a whisky-soaked score to swell the heart of any blue-blooded Scotsman. Equally enjoyable were the 50 Highland dancers who performed to a beautiful song written especially for the event. Picture perfect ballet in kilts.

The Indian Naval Band. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The Indian Naval Band. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Away from clans, uprisings and young pretenders, impressive military bands from India, Japan and the USA made it an international occasion.

Another nice touch was the presence of the Fanfare Band of the 9th French Marine Infantry Brigade, whose rousing nod to the Auld Alliance was enough to make the hairs on your sporran stand on end. As for their Daft Punk medley, all I can say is forget what Trump thinks, it’s phenomenal.

Also, in celebration of Britain’s maritime forces and 75 years of the RAF, be ready for a visual treat of epic proportions as the Castle esplanade is transformed into an aircraft carrier. I’ll stop there as don’t want to spoil the show, but wow, just wow.

As an Edinburgh local born and bred, I’d never actually been to the Tattoo before, but I thought I at least knew precisely what to expect. How naïve an assumption to make.

United States Naval Forces Europe Band. Picture: Ian Georgeson

United States Naval Forces Europe Band. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Watching on television, it’s nigh impossible to appreciate the sheer majesty of the live performance. Sitting in the stands you feel every beat and every skirl reverberate freely through your chest. It’s a truly magical experience.

A “splash” of tartan? Prepare to come out thoroughly drookit.

Japan Ground Self Defence Force Central Band. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Japan Ground Self Defence Force Central Band. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The 2017 Royal Military Tattoo, Edinburgh Castle
hjaltibonhonga viking reinacters. Pic: Ian Georgeson

The 2017 Royal Military Tattoo, Edinburgh Castle hjaltibonhonga viking reinacters. Pic: Ian Georgeson