David Cameron met frontline volunteers when he visited the Capital to open the revamped headquarters of Edinburgh’s Royal Marine Reserve.
The Prime Minister was given a tour of the premises in Colinton Road, which have just undergone a £290,000 upgrade.
And he watched reservists training on the newly-installed “ropes and regains” – which involves climbing up 30ft vertical ropes, commando crawling across horizontal ropes, hanging down from the ropes and climbing back on.
Mr Cameron met commanding officer Captain Andy Goldsmith, as well as Royal Marines commandant general Major General Martin Smith, maritime reserves commander Commodore Andrew Jameson and the commanding officer of the Scottish Marines Reserve, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Parvin.
And he chatted with members of the Edinburgh detachment, some of whom have recently been on active service on anti-piracy patrols or in Afghanistan.
The Royal Marine Reserve (RMR) is actively recruiting as part of the Government’s drive to boost the number of reservists. Members undergo 12 months’ training and have to pass the same tests as regular Marines before they get their green berets.
They specialise in arctic, amphibious, jungle and mountain warfare and are typically on duty for 35-40 days a year, but can be mobilised for active service for a year at a time. The RMR is hoping the new facilities in Edinburgh – which will also be available for other units visiting the Capital - will help increase recruitment.
RMR members are more closely integrated with their regular counterparts than other reservists and are deployed as individuals rather than as a complete unit.
The improved facilities at the Capital base are part of a £1.8 billion Government investment in the reserved forces. The Edinburgh detachment was previously housed in a portable cabin on the same site.
Today, runners undertaking the “1664 Challenge” – a series of skiing, sailing and running events – to mark the 350th anniversary were due to arrive in Edinburgh and run up the Royal Mile ahead of a family fun day in Princes Street Gardens. They will also be at Livingston’s Almondvale centre tomorrow.
Ed Miliband goes shopping for votes
LABOUR leader Ed Miliband took time to pose for a “selfie” on a visit to Edinburgh’s Gyle shopping centre.
He spoke to shoppers, and made a personal plea to them to vote against independence, saying he did not want his two sons, Daniel and Samuel, to regard Scotland as a foreign country.
He said: “I want them to be able to come here as I enjoy coming here in the future.”
During his visit to the Gyle, Mr Miliband chatted to an 87-year-old great-grandmother who told him all four of her great-grandchildren lived in England.
Mr Miliband said: “She said people aren’t talking enough about families in this and the impact on people’s families.
“I think almost every family across the UK has a connection to Scotland one way or another. Many families in Scotland, has a connection to England and the rest of the UK. And therefore, why would we break apart?”
Mr Miliband said he felt the momentum in the referendum campaign was with the Better Together side.
“But I’m determined that we keep going. I’m going to be here quite a lot over the next couple of months because I think it’s so important.”