By Kirsty Topping
THE FIGUREHEAD of Scotland’s only preserved warship is to make a special appearance at this year’s Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
The carved unicorn from the prow of the 187-year-old HMS Unicorn has been carefully removed from the Dundee-based frigate and transported to the capital.
During the Tattoo it, along with six cannons from the ship, will form part of a mock sailing ship to represent the Royal Navy’s role in the British military.
Unicorn Preservation Society operations manager Roderick Stewart said:
“The organizers were looking for information at first regarding gunnery in the period of the Battle of Trafalgar.
“But the more we thought about it the more we realised we could contribute to the performance.
“You can’t have a ship without a figurehead and so it seemed obvious that we donate ours to the tattoo. “
During a tense two-hour operation the carving was removed by workmen ready for transportation to Edinburgh.
It will be replaced with a replica until the Tattoo finishes at the end of August.
“Things involving big ships always take a long time,’ said Mr Stewart.
“But the Edinburgh Tattoo is one of the biggest shows in Scotland and to have the Unicorn in appearing in it is fantastic. “
The figurehead will appear for 22 days of performances, starting on August 5, in front of a total audience of 200,000.
The Unicorn, which was launched in 1824, is the sixth oldest ship in the world.
She was brought to Scotland in 1873 and used by the navy as a reserve training ship before being turned into a tourist attraction.