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Chris' date with destiny

28 November 2006

Historic Scotland is delighted to announce that Scotland Rugby Captain, Chris Paterson will be taking time out of his busy training schedule to assist Edinburgh Castle in something they knew would take a lot of strength and power – cutting the Stone of Destiny replica cake!

The cake comprises of an outstanding 24 sponges and weighs nearly as much as the Stone itself. Chris will be using a sword to cut through the layers, bringing the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Stone’s return to Scotland to a climax.

The sword itself will be provided by The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland and Chris may find himself feeling a bit like King Arthur, who also had an encounter with a sword and a stone (although not one made of sponge).

Chris’ appearance will really be the icing on the cake for visitors to Edinburgh Castle on St Andrew’s Day.

The day will begin at 9.15am with a special balloon launch from Edinburgh Castle esplanade. Historic Scotland staff and the army will line up to launch 710 blue and white balloons, as it was 710 years ago that the Stone was taken to England from Scotland by Edward I, only to be returned on St Andrew’s Day in 1996. The Castle will then open for the day, giving free admission to all. Once inside, visitors will be encouraged to really get into the patriotic side of things by having their faces painted from our special Saltire face-painting experts. At 1.00pm, Chris will cut the Stone of Destiny replica cake in the Great Hall (where it will be on show all morning) much to the delight of on-looking staff and visitors.

Barbara Smith, Executive Manager at Edinburgh Castle said: "We are delighted to have the Scotland Rugby Captain assisting us in our celebrations on Scotland’s national day. The Stone of Destiny is one of the most powerful symbols of Scottish nationhood, so who better than a powerful Scotsman to cut it for us! The staff here are really looking forward to welcoming visitors for free on the day and we hope everyone will get caught up in the patriotic spirit."

Notes for editors
  • Edinburgh Castle will be open from 9.30am to 5.00pm on St Andrew’s Day and admission will be free for all visitors. Please note, the balloon launch will be at 9.15am on St Andrew’s Day (30 Nov) on Edinburgh Castle esplanade, and the cake will be cut with a sword during the day. Further details will follow.

  • Chris Paterson is a Scottish Rugby Union footballer. Playing for both Edinburgh and Scotland, his position as Fly-half, Wing or Fullback has brought great acclaim. Chris’ impeccable goal-kicking was a key factor in Scotland’s 2006 Calcutta Cup victory over England as he landed five penalties from five attempts. His ratio for that Six Nations Championship was 17 successes out of 19 attempts. He became the 19th Scot to reach the landmark of 50 caps when he faced South Africa at Murrayfield in 2004.

  • After a 700 year absence, on 30 November 1996, the Stone of Destiny, an important symbol of Scotland returned to its rightful homeland, brought to Edinburgh Castle and accepted by Michael Forsyth, the then Secretary of State of Scotland, receiving it from the Queen’s representative, HRH Prince Andrew. It now lies, along with the Scottish Crown Jewels for visitors to see in the Crown room at the Castle, only to be moved again to Westminster Abbey for future coronation ceremonies.

  • Saint Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland and St Andrew’s Day is recognised and celebrated by Scots around the world on 30 November. The flag of Scotland in blue and white is the Cross of St Andrew (the Saltire).

  • The Stone of Destiny is one of the most important Scottish icons.  The Stone, which was formally returned to Scotland on 30 November 1996 is that taken from the abbey of Scone by King Edward I of England in 1296 and is the stone on which Scottish kings had been inaugurated for centuries (accounts exist of the inauguration of Alexander III in 1249 and John Balliol in 1292 and by that time, kings had been inaugurated at Scone for at least four centuries).

  • For over 400 years perhaps, Kings of Scots were inaugurated by sitting on the Stone of Scone.  For nearly 700 years, Kings of England and later Kings of Great Britain and Ireland were crowned on the Stone in Westminster Abbey.  Now the Stone rests again in Scotland, in the Crown Room at Edinburgh Castle, built by James VI of Scotland and I of England, the King who united the two countries in 1603.

  • The Stone of Destiny Cake is being created by Paul Bradford at Linlithgow-based Truly Scrumptious Designer Cakes Ltd.  For more information, please contact 01506 671133 or visit www.designer-cakes.com. Visitors will not be able to eat the cake due to health and safety restrictions.

  • The Castle is just one of 345 outstanding historic properties and sites in the care of Historic Scotland. These include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country, including Stirling, and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae.

For further information


Kate Turnbull
PR Executive
Marketing and Media
0131 668 8959
kate.turnbull@scotland.gsi.gov.uk