The Edinburgh Tattoo and Falkirk Wheel
The Edinburgh Military Tattoo was one of the two amazing highlights of our coach trip. Everything is timed to perfection, showing the experience of the coach driver and the company. Edinburgh had an electric atmosphere as it was teeming with people excitedly shopping, making their way to various locations for the Edinburgh Festival, or most importantly of all, to the Tattoo.
Special places are allocated for the coaches so it’s a short walk to the esplanade and the castle. There are numerous members of staff in the vicinity to guide you in the right direction and although the tickets said that you could entre at 8:30 pm, like thousands of others we were seated by 7:30 pm, which gave us the opportunity to watch some of the last minute rehearsals. (Yes, there are plenty of toilets located at the venue!)
The next 90 minutes were a “kaleidoscope” of colour, music, dancing and military marching bands, all against the ever changing backdrop of Edinburgh castle. Musicians came from around the world, Trinidad and Tobago, New Zealand, Germany, France, China to mention only a few, and of course, from the four nations of the United Kingdom, interspersed with the amazing Tattoo Dance Company.
As darkness fell the atmosphere increased resulting in an unforgettable display of intricate marching routines – perfectly performed as you would expect from highly trained professionals. The evening ended with the grand finale, every performer and band filled the esplanade to produce the ultimate 20 minute highlight of the evening, along with a spectacular firework display.
After the evening it was a short stroll back to the coach and the hotel.
The second highlight was a visit to the Falkirk Wheel. Again, there was easy access as the coach driver dropped us off at the main entrance, where there is the ubiquitous shop and café. The wheel was built in 1998 to re-join the Forth and Clyde and the Union Canals which had previously been linked by 11 locks which were subsequently dismantled in 1933.
Then it was all aboard the boat in the gondola, there was plenty of seating and windows so that everybody can see what happens as the gondola is lifted up the 25 metres to the next lock. The two humorous guides gave a short informative talk explaining the basic principles of the wheel and how the two gondolas are balanced, even if one boat is full of passengers and the other one is empty. Fascinatingly this is all achieved by using the same amount of energy that it takes to boil 8 electric kettles.
Having reached the upper level we enjoyed a short trip before making the reverse journey.
Was it worth the visit? Definitely. On embarking the boat there was time to watch the next boat full of visitors riding the gondola and seeing how both gondolas move in unison. Time to celebrate with lunch and a cup of tea. A brilliant time was had by all and we would definitely recommend it.
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