Great Britain Grand Chapitre
Edinburgh, July 6-9, 2017
An outstanding four days steeped in history
" Sunday evening aboard The Royal Yacht Britannia was an unforgettable occasion "

From around the globe members and guests came to Edinburgh for the Bailliage’s 58th Grand Chapitre.

On the Thursday we met on the terrace of the New Club with its panoramic views of the Castle and the old town. Founded in 1787, the New Club is steeped in Edinburgh’s professional, business and academic history.

Next morning there were two optional tours.

Option one was visiting the impressive Falkirk Wheel (which connects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal) followed by lunch at the French château-styled Callander House and on to see  the Kelpies (30-metre-high horse-head sculptures next to the Forth and Clyde Canal at Grangemouth).

The alternative was a boat trip to Inchcolm Island on the Maid of the Forth to see grey seals, many sea birds and like sentries on duty ... garden gnomes guarding the wildlife! The return was under the Firth of Forth’s three bridges (two road, one rail).

The Welcome Dinner in the Castle Suite of the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh “The Caledonian” was orchestrated by Operations Director, Maître Hôtelier Franck Bruyère. Maître Rôtisseur Ryan MacFarlane, Executive Chef, prepared an outstanding Scots influenced six-course dinner from whisky-cured sea trout, through haggis bonbons to Tantallon biscuits. The trompe l’oeil decoration of the Castle Suite formed an interesting backdrop to the gastronomy and lively conversation.

The Induction Ceremony and Reception were held in the City’s Council Chamber. Situated on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile it is an impressive building originally by John Adam. The induction party was piped in by Senior Pipe Major Ross McCrindle of the 1st Battalion the Scots Guards. After an informative introduction and welcome from Frank Ross, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Inducting Officer Roberto Zanghi, Member of the Conseil Magistral from Italy, performed the inductions and medal awards with aplomb.

That afternoon optional tours included seeing the city sights by vintage bus or visiting Broomhall House in Fife.

With views to the Scott Memorial and the Castle, the Sir Walter Scott Suite at the Balmoral Hotel provided the perfect backdrop to the Gala Dinner. The new Chaîne tartan was widely in evidence. With many ladies wearing sashes and gentlemen in trews it added colour to the evening.

Executive Chef Jeff Bland and his team produced an outstanding five-course menu showcasing Scotland’s best ingredients: Blairgowrie beef being one of the highlights. Macaroon ice cream sandwiches with coffee were inspired!

Sunday evening aboard The Royal Yacht Britannia was an unforgettable occasion. Piped on board, with aperitif in hand we then explored in the footsteps of world leaders and royalty, not least our Royal family. Dinner was served in the State Dining Room. Lavishly-laid tables heralded a stunning six-course dinner.

Vive la Chaîne!

Paul Smith
Vice-Chargé de Missions, Bailliage of Wessex