As a marching girl, performing at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is the highest achievement. From the moment I heard of it, I knew it was something I needed to do.

I have just returned from Edinburgh, where I performed at the Edinburgh Tattoo for my third time. First in 2008, as an 18 year old, realising my dream and full of pride. Then in 2013, an unimaginable opportunity to do it again, older and wiser. But a third time?! I was lucky enough to do it once! I would have never thought it possible. Each time has come with its own challenges, hard work and rewards. Each time I have marched with immense pride and relished every step in front of that massive crowd.

Hayley Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

I started marching at the age of 9. Marching as a sport isn’t very popular these days, but it’s been in my family for generations. My mother was a marching girl (who later went on to coach around the time that I entered the world) alongside all of her sisters. And their coach? None other than my grandfather! So it was almost inevitable that I would follow in my mother’s footsteps. I convinced my Mum to let me join in 1998 and I’ve never looked back. Nobody would have expected where my marching would take me. Since joining my current team, Lochiel, ten years ago, I’ve travelled around the world doing what I love.

The greatest team in the history of the sport has always been Lochiel. I remember standing at the fence as a young Under 12 marcher and watching them in awe. It became my goal to march for them, and march for their coach Colleen Pobar QSM. When I was given the opportunity to join, at the age of 16, I was overcome with pride. It is still my greatest honour and greatest achievement to march for this team, with its high reputation and rich history. Even now, after 10 years in the ranks, I still can’t believe my luck every time I do up my jacket and wear that Lochiel tartan.

Hayley Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

The Edinburgh Tattoo is a beast! They call it ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ for a reason. The calibre of performers we are amongst is outstanding, and performing to 9500 people every night is an indescribable feeling. But it comes with a lot of hard work too – goodbye weekends, hello fundraising, hours and hours poured into achieving perfection (or as close to it as we can!). But all the hard work simply makes the rewards feel greater and very well earned.

I have a lot of support around me in order to make my marching dreams possibilities. A partner who let’s me disappear every weekend, a family who have been there through every step of the way, and those people who help our team fundraise the roughly $100,000 my team has to raise just to make Edinburgh possible.

Hayley Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Thanks to Pioneer Finance of course for their sponsorship to help me get there, but mostly for the continued support they have given me and Lochiel over the years. If it weren’t for people like this, Lochiel would never be able to achieve everything that we do.

For now, it’s back to the theatre for me with my new show solo theatre show Vanilla Miraka. A small break from marching before it starts all over again!

This is a small video of the Lochiel Marching Team performing at the Royal Edinburgh Tattoo.