On Wednesday 25 May, our Pipe Band and Highland Dancers took part in the massed CCF Beating Retreat on the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade in what was an amazing display of music, dancing and colour. A sunny band practice in Princess Street Gardens was followed by a wet parade. However that didn't dampen the spirits of our pipers, drummers and highland dancers and even a rainbow came out to say hello at the end of the performance.
Piping Instructor, Mr Sumner shared: "Congratulations to Drum Major Leo who was selected as the first ever RGC Senior Drum Major for both the Castle performance and the Palace of Holyrood House display the night before. He is the youngest person, aged 14, to lead the CCF Pipes and Drums Scotland at both parades.
"Congratulations also to Pipe Major Alex for becoming the first female RGC Pipe Major to lead the Pipe Band on the Esplanade. We are very proud of you both."
The Beating Retreat is a ceremony based upon the end of day parade during times of war; beating drums and Post Guards would signal the end of the fighting day, and for soldiers to retreat, when the flags were lowered. An order from William III, dating back to 1694 stated that the Drum Major and Drummers were to ‘beat the Retreat’ through the large street, and they were to be answered by the Drummers of the guards in their respective Quarters.
At the end of the day’s work, the ‘Retreat’ was beaten. The term, which comes from the French ‘retraite’ (retire) was used by all the European armies, and has no connection with the tactical manoeuvre of the same name.
Nowadays, ‘Retreat’ has two functions. Firstly, it is still an occasion for mounting the night guard each evening. Secondly, in its ceremonial form, it is an occasion when the Pipes & Drums can put on a musical display for spectators.