more than one highlander watched Braveheart for the 30th or so time earlier today, and it left me feeling like I should look up information about Scotland, for some reason. So I stopped by the ever-reliable Wikipedia and I found this little tidbit of information I had never heard of before: Scotland is home to Europe’s only legal private army, the Atholl Highlanders.

I immediately thought of Petoria, and it occurred to me that it must be awesome to be allowed to run your own army. But when I read more about it I discovered that it was little more than a glorified marching band. Some guy, the Duke of Atholl, lives in South Africa but will occasionally return to his giant castle in Scotland. While he’s there (and while he’s gone, for that matter), his own private army guards the grounds. They also take care of any foreign dignitaries who need to stop by.

In the meantime, they just do a couple of parades a year, playing the bagpipes and whatnot. It’s the most asinine waste of a 100-man coup-capable force that I’ve ever heard of. Still, it must be reassuring to have a battalion overlooking your estate, and the Duke will have double-coverage if anyone ever invades his territory…even if his men’s wind instruments could defeat the entire Scottish army.

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