The giant pandas set to arrive at Edinburgh Zoo before the end of the year have been granted their own tartan.
The Scottish Register of Tartans, which approves applications for new patterns, has released details on its website of “The Edinburgh Zoo Panda” design, created to celebrate the arrival of breeding pair Tian Tian and Yangguang.
The main colours are black and white, representing the pandas. There’s also red for China and green to represent bamboo, the animals’ favourite food. Red overchecks in blocks represent the number “3”, which symbolises luck and is similar to the Chinese character for birth. Grey shades convey the gradation of colour from black to white as seen on the pandas’ fur.
Gillespie tartan was the starting point for the pattern in recognition of Edinburgh lawyer Thomas Gillespie, who founded the Royal Zoological Society of Edinburgh in 1909.
The zoo is expected to launch the design at a special event in the next few weeks.
A spokeswoman said: “We have worked closely with designers Kinloch Anderson to create a tartan which reflects the huge cultural significance of the giant pandas’ arrival in Scotland.”
I know what you’re thinking why do pandas need a tartan when they don’t wear clothes, centuries of Scottish clansmen must be turning in their graves.
Still it will be a nice little earner for the zoo to flog miniature pandas with kilts in their gift shop.
Royal Navy unable to patrol UK waters
Apparently crippling defence cuts have left UK without a single warship dedicated to protecting the waters around the British Isles.
For the last month the Royal Navy has been unable to deploy a frigate or destroyer whose sole task is to patrol the country’s coastline.
Usually the Navy would place a vessel, known as the Fleet Ready Escort (FRE), on standby to respond swiftly to a potential threat such as a terrorist attack in UK waters or abroad.
But cuts to the already stretched fleet and the Libyan conflict meant naval chiefs were forced to axe the emergency capability at the start of October.
As luck would have it a ship is ready to go and sits on the cliff tops at Cliffs End near Ramsgate in Kent.