University students to mark graduation with final fling at Edinburgh Castle
Thousands of university graduates will cap off their year with a fling at Edinburgh Castle this summer, after official graduation ceremonies had to be called off due to Covid-19.
Special celebration events taking place in August are not being treated as official graduation ceremonies, but organisers say they will provide a “fitting finale” to mark the significant accomplishments of those who have completed their studies during a difficult year.
The University of Edinburgh is hosting the outdoor events with The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and Historic Environment Scotland in recognition of student achievements.
It comes after the University made the difficult decision to again cancel its normal graduation ceremonies at McEwan Hall in the heart of university land.
Each of the events taking place on August 26, 27 & 28 will be available for online booking on a first-come-first-served basis from 12pm on Monday July 19.
Graduates will be gowned for the event and will pick up their robes at McEwan Hall. Graduates and two guests will then make their way from McEwan Hall to the Castle esplanade.
Graduates and their guests will walk over the Castle drawbridge, proceeding to the Great Hall, accompanied by performers from The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Tattoo dancers, pipers, drummers and fiddlers will provide outdoor entertainment for attendees before students are capped by a senior University representative inside the Great Hall.
Completed in 1511 for King James IV, the Great Hall’s wooden roof is a wonder of medieval construction, with giant wooden beams resting on stones carved with heads and symbols such as the thistle – Scotland’s national flower.
Up to around 1,200 graduates will be able to attend with up to two guests each and celebrations will be held in line with Scottish Government Covid advice in place at the time. Graduates who are unable to attend these celebrations will be able attend a future event.
Professor Peter Mathieson, the University’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, said: “The past 18 months has been an incredibly difficult period for everyone. The fact that our graduates, through their hard work and determination, have been able to finish their studies is a huge achievement and one which they should be justifiably proud of.
"We hope that by organising these special celebrations amid the splendour of Edinburgh Castle, we can ensure a fitting finale to mark their very significant accomplishments.”
Buster Howes, Chief Executive of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, said: “Since cancelling our 2021 August show run, due to ongoing Covid uncertainties, we have turned our attention to supporting other events in the City that have also been hit hard by the impacts of the pandemic.
"We are delighted to be working in partnership with the University of Edinburgh, and Historic Environment Scotland, on these graduation celebration events for the University this August.
"Completing University is a huge milestone in anyone’s life, and we hope these events are a welcome celebration after the challenges of the last 18 months.
“We are confident that this will be a very special experience, safely managed and observing all relevant Covid restrictions.”