Burntisland girl Megan makes history at Military Tattoo

A Burntisland soldier has become the first regular Army female Lone Piper to perform at the prestigious Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Monday, 15th August 2016, 2:40 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:11 pm
Megan performs at the Tattoo. Pic by Mark Owens

Lance Bombardier Megan Beveridge made piping history when she became the first female to pass the very exacting Army Pipe Major’s course.

Megan (21), is also the youngest person to have attained the Pipe Major’s qualification. She was selected for the honour of being the Lone Piper by the Army’s director of Army bagpipe music and Highland drumming, Major Steven Small, who has carried out the task many times himself as a Piper for The Black Watch – now the 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

She was in the spotlight for the 8800-strong audience at the Tattoo, as she was lit up on the castle ramparts, after the massed pipes and drums and military bands on the Esplanade fell silent and she played the famous lament ‘Sleep Dearie Sleep’ at the end of the finale.

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Megan Beveridge. Pic by Mark Owens

This is cited by many Tattoo-goers as the most moving and uplifting part of the show and is certainly one of the greatest honours and achievements that any Army piper can hope to achieve.

Almost all professional pipers and drummers in the regular Army are from infantry or royal armoured corps units. Megan is a member of 19th Regiment Royal Artillery, The Scottish Gunners, who are unusual because they are not an infantry or royal armoured corps regiment, but still has a pipes and drums.

Women can serve in artillery regiments in the Army, so Megan chose The Scottish Gunners to improve her prospects as a piper. When not piping, her job is co-ordinating transport for the day-to-day running of the regiment.

Megan has been playing the pipes since she was 9, and her big sister, Kerry-Ann, who played in The Black Watch cadets pipes and drums, was her inspiration.

Megan Beveridge. Pic by Mark Owens

Megan, who also played with the cadets, as well as the Royal Burgh of Inverkeithing Pipe Band, joined the Army when she left school at 16.

Before each Tattoo performance the Lone Piper welcomes the salute taker and performs the Gaelic Toast, welcoming them to the castle. On Saturday she had to perform the ceremony with First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

“I hope to get promoted and get my first Pipe Major’s appointment and then work at the Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming in Edinburgh, and eventually become the Army’s senior Pipe Major,” she said. “After that, I hope to be the Sovereign’s Piper and work out of Buckingham Palace, travelling with them.

“I hope that I’ve inspired other female pipers to join the Army. It’s a great job and I’m really pleased to be able to do it.”