The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

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August is without a doubt the best time of year to visit Edinburgh. Not only because temperatures change from sub zero to mildly tolerable but it’s also the month long arts festival. A city filled with comedy, theatre, pop up bars and restaurants all which give Edinburgh a unique buzz throughout August.

I was invited to spend the day with Festivals Edinburgh to explore the city and squeeze five festivals into one day, including The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, my personal favourite this year.

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The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place from 2nd – 26th August and is Scotland’s biggest outdoor spectacle, attracting an international audience of two hundred and twenty thousand people each year. Located on the esplanade of the iconic Edinburgh castle, over one thousand military and civilian performers from around the world congregate to perform the show of a lifetime.

The show incorporates a wide range of music, dance and precision display with massed pipes and drums, military bands, cultural troupes, singers as each country tells a story  of their heritage and culture and the moving piece of the lone piper against the stunning backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.

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We secured a prime position on the forecourt and got to experience the show up close and personal. Trinidad and Tobago’s Defence Force Steel Orchestra was a personal highlight as they brought a fun twist to the show along with the Hjaltibonhoga fiddlers from the Shetland Isles.

This year’s theme, Kaleidoscope, captures the imaginations of audience goers through a series of performances bold with colour and light, comparable to the optical invention which was created by Scottish physicist, Sir David Brewster, in 1816. I spoke briefly with Brigadier David Allfrey, chief executive and producer of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, who explained “The Tattoo is always looking to stimulate as many senses as possible: sight, hearing, smell, touch and even taste.” And is set to be the “most colourful and extravagant show yet”.

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This unforgettable performance is brought to an emotional and poignant close each evening as a lone piper, spot lit high on top of the castle, plays a haunting lament. We were lucky enough to view the finale from above the crowd as fireworks and a mass chorus of Auld Lang Syne from the audience brought the curtain down on a truly memorable night’s entertainment.

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The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo can be pretty pricey and always sells out in record time so ensure to grab your tickets early. Alternatively, tickets for the pre-show performance (which takes place on the Thursday night) go on sale the Monday before the show starts.

Check out some of the other festivals that we visited throughout the day;

  • Edinburgh Art Festival – 25th July to 25th August
  • Edinburgh Fringe – 2nd to 26th August
  • Edinburgh International Festival – 2nd to 26th August
  • Edinburgh International Book Festival – 10th to 26th August

Remember to wrap up as the show is outdoors. Thanks for reading, keep up with my latest adventures – A Bonnie Travelers Inside Guide

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Ayr Beach Clean

Annually, there are seven billion tons of debris deposited on beaches, which is not only a health hazard for us who use them recreationally but also an environmental hazard for the marine community which depends on them. That is why it was so important to me to organise a beach clean last weekend: bringing together an amazing group of people to tackle the problem.

We headed down to South Ayrshire depot to collect our litter picking equipment. We also managed to sneak a quick tour of the facilities and learn exactly what happens to our litter when we throw it in our wheelie bins.

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This was the paper and plastic collected from Ayrshire’s wheelie bins on Friday. So where exactly is this all going now? The team at the depot explained;

  • The contents of your blue bin are processed in Irvine at a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) where the paper, card, plastic bottles and cans are separated out and sold on to recycling markets.
  • The contents of the brown bin are taken to a centralised composting plant in Skares, where it is turned into compost before being used in landscaping works etc.
  • The glass is taken to their waste transfer station in Ayr, before being bulked up and transported to the glass recycling plant in Alloa where it is turned into new glass bottles.

Recycling waste materials provides an opportunity to put less waste to landfill, reduces air pollution and energy use, and reduces the impact of extracting materials and is a more efficient use of finite resources.

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After our tour, we headed to Unity Grill who kindly offered to host us before the beach clean. Their motto is ‘Eat Well. Do Good’. We certainly ate well – the food was AMAZING, with a great choice of vegan and gluten free options.

Unity Grill are a social restaurant with the community at heart, where 100% of the profits are used to challenge food poverty. Angela, the owner sat down to chat with us where she explained that everyone is welcome, regardless of whether you can pay for your meal or not. At Unity Grill, you have the option to volunteer to cover the cost of your meal.

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…Not for sharing!
We were also treated to some much needed caffeine, kindly donated by Rocket Monkey Coffee and as a fun incentive, Global WAKEcup offered two personalised eco-friendly cups to the two people that collected the most litter on Ayr beach.
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Fueled up and ready to go, we headed down to Ayr beach and in true Scottish fashion, got completely soaked.

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Although the beach wasn’t all that bad, much of what we did find was mainly plastic straws and bottle tops.

We managed to collect five bags of litter. Shout out to Adventures with Amanda and Kathryn In The Clouds for collecting the most litter and winning the personalised cups.

It was such a fun day and great to see so many people pull together for such an important cause. While beach cleans alone will never be the answer to plastic pollution, they are an incredible example of community spirit. They serve to educate and raise awareness on a mass scale. Every piece of plastic we remove is a victory for our beaches and provides evidence to support campaigns calling for packaging and business reform.

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Thank you so much again to Unity Grill for hosting us for the best brunch EVER! And Rocket Monkey Coffee for fueling us. Also, True Glasgow for providing transport and the team at South Ayrshire Council for providing the litter picking equipment and supporting us throughout. And last but not least my gal Bloggers Who Brunch Glasgow for bringing us all together💙 Chuffed to bits!

Keep up to date with my latest adventures: A Bonnie Travelers Inside Guide

Images by Power Puff Travel and myself.