Scots Guards are happy to be back home

Scots Guards get ready at Edinburgh Castle to go on sentry duty from Monday next week.  Pictured are Guardsman David Drysdale (left) and Guardsman Keiran Melrose (right)
Scots Guards get ready at Edinburgh Castle to go on sentry duty from Monday next week. Pictured are Guardsman David Drysdale (left) and Guardsman Keiran Melrose (right)
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With their bearskin hats and red tunics, they are a sight more usually associated with tourist images of Buckingham Palace or Trooping The Colour.

But these Scots Guards looked proud to be back home in the Auld Country as they prepare to take over guard duty at Edinburgh Castle and other key points in the Capital this week for the arrival of the Royal family for a series of official engagements in Scotland.

Guardsmen David Drysdale, from West Lothian, and Kieran Melrose, from South Lanarkshire, really put their back into it as they buffed up their kit one final time in preparation for guard duty on the Castle Esplanade.

A total of 84 soldiers, separated into three platoons, from the F Company of the regiment will carry out numerous duties as part of the Royal Week, as well as exploring Edinburgh and participating in team building and fitness training in the surrounding area.

The soldiers are based at the Wellington Barracks in London and are undertaking ceremonial duties.

However, they must keep their training up-to-date as they will find themselves in different types of placement during their careers such as with the First Battalion.

“They’re not make-believe soldiers,” Major Tom Mortensen said. “Some people think they’re just actors, but they’re first and foremost infantry soldiers.

“They work really hard and they deserve to be recognised for that.”

The Scots Guards, which traces its lineage as far back as 1642, are the third of five regiments of Foot Guards along with the Grenadiers, the Coldstreams, the Irish and the Welsh Guards.

They have recently completed a very busy period in their London-based role such as participation in the Trooping the Colour for the Queen’s birthday parade.

As well as being located at Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle over the coming week, the platoons from F Company will rotate position to be involved in different activities around the city, including going for training runs in the Pentland Hills.

Usually bound by their London routine, Major Mortensen said his men were looking forward to fresh air and variety. For many of them, it will be a return home.

Seventy per cent of the Scots Guards originate from Scotland, meaning time in Edinburgh can help in reuniting with loved ones.

Major Mortensen said: “London’s quite far away. This is a really good opportunity for friends and family to celebrate what they do.”

The Scots Guards are popular with tourists and locals alike looking to snap a rare picture.

“You don’t often see the tunic and bearskin of the Scots Guards in Scotland,” Major Mortensen said. “It’s really iconic”

And for anybody struggling to identify one Guards’ regiment from another, the clue is the buttons – always in threes for a Scots Guard and no tassle in their bearksin.