Day 4: The first annual Highland Military Tattoo
The day started with a drive into Inverness, where we were scheduled to perform and march through the town. The Hellcats drew large crowds as they performed throughout Inverness. Master Sgt. Denver Dill explained the importance of the United States Military Academy and the role that The Hellcats play in achieving the West Point Band’s mission to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets. After each performance, The Hellcats spoke to members of the audience and posed for photos.
After marching through the town we came to the Town House. This is where General Seymour Monro, Zoja Bazarnic, Principal Officer at the US Consulate General in Edinburgh, and Alex Graham, Provost of Inverness, met us. After posing for a few photos outside Provost Graham led us inside the beautiful building for a luncheon. It was such an honor to be invited to the Town House and have the opportunity to speak with Ms. Bazarnic and Provost Graham.
While we were eating many people were asking what some of the more traditional foods were. To my delight I heard that there was haggis on the table. I made sure to put it on my plate, on my first bite it quickly became my favorite food we had eaten! (Next to the Yorkshire Pud, that is.)
After lunch it was time to get back on the bus for a few hours of rest and dinner before the first night of the show. There were so many performers that most of the base was considered back stage. Hundreds of bagpipers and drummers were warming up as we began getting together for the opening act. The lighting was perfect, the sound was big, the audience was excited. What an amazing event. Two more to go!
Day 5: Culloden
It’s Saturday, and we are heading to Culloden. We performed during an event that they were having, playing the same music as the day before in Inverness. After our performance we were treated to a tour of the battlefield, where the battle was being reenacted at the tattoo. During the tour The Hellcats had the privilege of honoring all of the Scottish men who fought in the battle of Culloden in 1746 with the sounding of Last Post at a monument placed in their memory.
It was another successful evening at the tattoo. Each night The Hellcats stepped out and spoke with the audience, giving away Army keepsakes and letting children (and adults) wear their tar buckets and play their drums. There was even a gentleman who played the Harmonica for us!
Day 6: Last Night of the Tattoo
Our only event scheduled today was the tattoo, which gave me the opportunity to explore Ft. George. Earlier in the week we stepped out to the “beach” on the Morry Firth. It was all rocks and shells, but I could see over the edge of the fort that the other side was all sand. After asking a few people how to get there Staff Sgt.’s Medeke, Martin, and I were directed to the guard’s room. We were given a set of keys to the massive doors on the other side of the Fort. They were heavy, but as we opened then the warm sun welcomed us to … the General’s pet cemetery. If you were fortunate enough to have a dog, and unfortunate enough to have that dog die while you were the commander of Ft. George, your precious pup had the honor of being buried in the Ft. George Dog Cemetery. Beyond that was the beach, full of the softest sand I had ever felt. It was covered in unbroken seashells and perfectly smooth sea glass. What a relaxing way to spend some time before the tattoo.
The last night of the tattoo was another sold out crowd and a huge success. We again had the wonderful opportunity to meet the audience, hear their stories, and be welcomed back by many.