Yesterday was spent in Edinburgh, gearing up for the last night of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
2 Div, which is the brigade that is stationed in Scotland, were the hosts and a fine collection of punters we were. I was the only one without any medals.
This is the 60th. anniversary ( it began in 1950) and it has returned to it's roots, having flirted with less military themes in the 80's and 90's. Last night included the Pipes and Drums of the Gurkhas, which is partly why I was invited.
The final firework display was a fine ending, and I defy anyone to hear the Lone Piper spotlit on the Castle Battlements and not to feel the hair on the back of their heads bristle. Tattoo comes from the words "Doe den Tap Toe", Dutch for "turn off the taps" which was the cry in the 17th. and 18th. centuries in the Low Countries,when the fifes and drums of the local regiment marched through the streets signalling it was time for the troops to return to barracks.
This year of course was especially poignant because of the deaths in Afghanistan, and quite a number of the participants last night were not long back.
Next year, astonishingly, marks 10 years of us fighting in Afghanistan. A group of students have come together to form DECAID which will raise money for a variety of military charities, hopefully the GWT included.
Two of the projects are worth mentioning. One will be a full parade of 2,500 Pipers and Drummers marching down the Royal Mile, immediately after armed forces day next year. It will be well worth securing a view.
The other is nearer my heart. A group of 6 young men will climb ALL the 283 Munros in a seven week period. They will walk all the way, including between the peaks. It includes canoeing to the Islands.Incredibly, the record for doing this by a single person is 39 days.
The intention is that each Munro will be dedicated to a dead soldier in Afghanistan, and that will include a spell which will be dedicated the the Gurkhas.
Sadly, we are already past the 283 deaths that would cover the Munros.