Friday, December 28, 2012

Piped Into Dinner

Have you ever been piped into dinner? I have. While in Scotland we enjoyed the honor of being piped into dinner. This tradition has its foundations with the military and there are a great many requirements that go along with the formal presentation. We waited anxiously in the gorgeous lounge area at The Atholl Palace Hotel in Pitlochry, Scotland.

Set among the hills of the Southern Highlands, this was an incredible place to relax and be completely charmed by Scottish hospitality.

Our piping, while formal, wasn't quite as full of rules and regulations. Our piper did wear the full formal uniform as you can see here.

In the regulations of formal piping, the guests are piped in according to their rank or standing. There are warnings sounded at 15 minutes and 5 minutes prior to the dinner and often the piper will give this warning playing a short upbeat song. Then when they announce dinner and the march is to begin he might play a tune like "Brose and Butter."

In formal settings you might be piped in to the tune of "Roast Beef of Old England", but our piper played "Scotland the Brave" and did a fine job. We waited behind our chairs as is tradition and then we were served an incredible dinner. Here are some of the lovely dishes we enjoyed.

After dinner were were again treated to the pipes. This time the bagpipe was explained to us and contrary to popular belief there really aren't any cats inside being unmercifully squeezed. The bagpipe is made up of several parts as you can see.

The piper blows into the blowpipe in order to fill the airtight bag. Once there is sufficient air he can begin to play. The Chanter is the melody pipe that he will use to make music. It takes a great deal of skill to play the bagpipes, as well as a lot of hot air, as our piper quipped.

That evening was such a wonderful flavor of Scotland. The hotel was beautiful, the Christmas decorations perfect, our piper quite capable and the food delicious. It was such a special time and toward the end of the evening our piper played "Amazing Grace" and we stood and held hands. We sang Auld Lang Syne and ended our evening. It was a very special dinner and I'll always remember it fondly.

The next morning we boarded the train and headed to Edinburgh for our final 3 days, but Pitlochry memories remained with us and always will.

God Bless and Happy New Year. May 2013 be a blessing to you in every way and as the Celts would say, "Slainte agus buaidh gu brath"  - Health and success forever.

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