Replica Edinburgh Castle set up inside Westpac Stadium

Technical director Nick Kyle in front of the main gate of the replica castle facade.

Technical director Nick Kyle in front of the main gate of the replica castle facade.

It's a long way from the cold, windy hills of Scotland, but Edinburgh Castle is looking right at home in Wellington's Westpac Stadium.

The Royal Military Edinburgh Tattoo drums its way into town next week, but before 1200 performers converge next Tuesday to rehearse for four nights of performance, a scale replica facade of the medieval castle, complete with working cannons, needs to be constructed inside the stadium.

Since Monday, 60 people have been working from 7am to 10pm each day to build the castle, which must be finished by lunchtime on Sunday.  

The replica facade will take a week to set up at Westpac Stadium

The replica facade will take a week to set up at Westpac Stadium

Technical director Nick Kyle said the castle was made out of 1200 sheets of plywood.

Ninety per cent of the panels were hand-painted by scenic artists Kelvin and Louis Guy, a father-and-son team brought over from the Scottish Opera to take care of the job.

They worked six days a week for two months getting the walls of the castle just right. 

Kyle described the task of setting up a castle on a sports ground as "a really nice challenge". 

It was good to bring a bunch of really different people together. "Like scaffolders – they don't usually do this kind of stuff, they do building.

"Everyone involved is doing their thing well, because they're into it." 

He agreed building the front of a life-sized castle on a sports pitch did throw up a few challenges.

Ad Feedback

"We have to be very mindful of the turf. Any time we move anything we have to lay down 40 millimetres of ply ... to drive a forklift anywhere." 

Kyle said everything would be wrapped in plastic at the end of each night, to protect it from the sprinklers needed to keep the turf in good condition. 

The rest of the grass had to be hand-watered with a large hose, which took about 2½ hours. 

"We finish on Sunday, and there's a Phoenix game on Friday, at this stage we've got three days to get this out," he said.

Despite the enormity of the task facing him and his team, working out lights, sound, fireworks and co-ordinating 1200 people, Kyle seemed relaxed about the job ahead. 

"It is kind of an extension of what we normally do, it's just that there are 20 times as many people.

"The core of it is what we do, it's just great to be able to do it on this scale."


* It has taken 12 carpenters and two painters five months to build the full-size replica of Edinburgh Castle's facade, out of 1200 sheets of plywood.

* It will take 60 crew seven days to install it at Westpac Stadium.

* Construction required 32,000 litres of water ballast (the equivalent of 97,000 bottles of beer), 60 tonnes of scaffolding and over 170 tonnes of concrete.

* About 80,000 people are expected to watch the tattoo over the four nights. 

* They will be entertained by more than 1200 performers including Highland dancers, Shetland fiddlers, groups from across the Pacific Islands, and seven kapa haka groups. 

* The Royal Military Edinburgh Tattoo shows begin on Thursday, February 18, and runs until Sunday, Feb 21.  

* Tickets have sold out for the Friday and Saturday shows, but are still available for Thursday and Sunday, via Ticketek.

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers
Ad Feedback