Monday, 31 December 2012

Hogmanay 2012 - Day 1

We decided, last minute, to take a trip up to Edinburgh to take part in their three day Hogmanay celebrations.
After a very early morning and a five hour drive through some of Scotland's prettiest countryside, we finally reached our apartment mid afternoon - just in time to have a wee nap before the party began.
Day 1 kicks it all off with a bang - a torch lit procession from Chambers Street up to Calton Hill followed by a Son et Lumiere and fireworks finale.

This year's procession broke a world record with more than 40,000 people from all over the world making their way up to Edinburgh to take part. So many, in fact, that when the first people reached the top of the hill, thousands had still not even left the starting point and never made it as far as the end point.

The torch bearers were led by Shetland’s Up Helly Aa’ Vikings and massed pipes and drums with police escorts through the streets and up the hill.

The sound of the bands could be heard from miles around, like the Pied Piper calling for more to follow. Seeing the snake of flickering orange flames coming across the bridge sent you back thousands of years to a time when Vikings would march in the masses by torch light - just like this - to fight and steal treasure.

Once as many people as could fit had reached the hill, the real celebrations began. First, traditional music from the bagpipes and drums, then flame dancing by Pyroceltica. Again, we could have been in any era but 2012.

After the dancing, we were all turned around to face a huge bonfire where fireworks erupted from a 2012 figure atop the stack. For some reason they couldn't get the fire started and spent about half an hour messing about with kindling before the flames took hold.

And to conclude the evening - one of the most impressive fireworks displays I have ever seen.

I stood shoulder to shoulder with the crowd, my head tilted back and my mouth wide open, watching with awe as the sky above lit up in a glittering rainbow of fire.

When it all finished, I shouted "again!"

Location:Edinburgh, Scotland


  1. This looks and sounds awesome. I keep reading blog posts about the Hogmanay celebrations and this definitely makes me think I made the wrong choice by not going. Instead I travelled up to my friend's Edinburgh apartment the week before so I could explore the Christmas markets and get lots of presents for my friends and family, but now I think I should have scheduled my trip to coincide with this! Hmm..I suppose there's always next year?

  2. It was amazing, I would definitely recommend it. The street party was a bit disappointing, it cost £16 to get in and you don't really get anything that you don't get on the streets outside, there was some bands playing but with 150,000 people there, you couldn't get near them. The fireworks were the best I've ever seen but could easily have been seen from anywhere in Edinburgh without being crammed in the street getting your toes trampled. Still, I'm glad we did it, it was a great experience.