More than 30 clansmen and clanswomen marched to the Great Hall at Edinburgh Castle today (Monday, 8 May) to mark a hugely momentous occasion in Scotland’s history books. This is the first time that Scotland’s clans have been welcomed into the Castle since the Highland Clans marched to the City of Edinburgh to lay siege to the Castle during the Jacobite uprisings in 1745. The gathering was organised by The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo which is celebrating its own ties with the Scottish Diaspora this year.
The gathering of Scotland’s diaspora community is believed to be the only time that clans have been openly welcomed to one of Scotland’s oldest fortresses. Clan members were treated to a guided tour of the medieval surroundings of the Great Hall where their ancestors once attempted to gain entry to, courtesy of Edinburgh Castle’s Governor, Major General Mike Riddell-Webster, and hosted by The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
The event is being heralded by historians as the latest iconic tale from the colourful history of Scotland’s clans folk. Today’s gathering was an indication of the strength of the clan involvement which still survives in Scotland, with more than 350 clans in existence.
In September 1745 more than 900 of the Highland clansmen marched to the City of Edinburgh to lay siege to the Castle. Although they managed to capture Edinburgh and Holyrood, in a hugely symbolic move, they were never successful in capturing the Castle as General Guest, Governor at the time, would not surrender the Castle to Bonnie Prince Charlie and his men.
During the Tattoo’s August extravaganza, the military showcase will champion the theme Splash of Tartan, a series of events that will encourage people living in Scotland and those with a link to Scotland to explore their ancestral connections with the country. In the opening ceremony of each evening, Clan Chiefs will lead their clan folk on to the Esplanade to the awaiting Tattoo crowd. Everyone across the city is being encouraged to dress up in finest tartan accoutrements.
The timely link up between the Tattoo and Scottish Diaspora, which falls during VisitScotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, will be reinforced through a range of separate partnerships and initiatives, including a tie up with The National Museum of Scotland, The National Trust of Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland who have collaborated to create a new trail of 25 properties and attractions throughout the country whose history is intertwined with Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites.