A TALENTED group of musicians are getting ready to swap Scottish shores for a trip to France.

Haddington Pipe Band are heading back to Aubigny-sur-Nere next week to participate in the annual Fete Franco-Ecossaises (Franco-Scottish Festival).

The band has been a regular visitor to Haddington’s twin town in central France for a number of years.

The twinning arrangement between the two towns stretches back more than 50 years, with Haddington Pipe Band first visiting Aubigny, which has a population of almost 6,000, in 1989.

Since then, the band and band members have always been given a rousing reception at the many parades and other celebrations that take place during the festival.

“Those who have been to Aubigny in previous years will know just what an enjoyable experience this is for all involved, whether as a player or spectator,” said pipe major Fraser Wilkinson.

“Aubigny is a beautiful town, the hospitality is wonderful, and there’s always a real carnival atmosphere.”

The Fête Franco-Ecossaises celebrates the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France.

It is the holder of a prestigious French tourism ‘Oscar’, and among the regular programme of events are parades, a historical show, costumed characters, feasts and a Scottish village, not to mention all the informal celebrations, plus events organised by the town and the Aubigny band for its Haddington visitors.

Fraser added: “We’ll be leaving Haddington by coach today and will be there for almost a week.

“As ever, we will have a hectic programme in Aubigny, but everyone associated with the band – pipers and drummers, plus family members and friends – is very much looking forward to being back there and representing Haddington at the festival.”