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The Vikings are coming… and so is Hogmanay! Scotland gears up for New Year in fancy dressMore than 7,000 join torchlit procession through EdinburghCapital hosts 30million extravaganza to celebrate New Year
21:24 GMT, 30 December 2012
The streets of Scotland's capital were overrun by a horde of Vikings – in a festive invasion to celebrate Hogmanay.
Dozens of Vikings from Shetland, clad in armour and holding shields, joined around 7,000 others revellers in a stunning torchlit parade through Edinburgh to mark the end of the year.
They were led by massed pipes and drums as part of the capital’s sell-out 30 million extravaganza.
Lit up for Hogmanay: A group of Vikings take part in a torchlit procession through the streets of Edinburgh to usher in a new year
The annual illuminated procession finishes with a fireworks display at Calton Hill.
And as the end of another year approaches, communities around Scotland were preparing for Hogmanay.
From Edinburgh and Glasgow to a tiny
Perthshire village expecting a Hollywood A-list guest, revellers are
counting down to the Bells.
And the good news is that the festivities will get an even break from the weather.
Met Office forecasters are predicting a
wet start to the New Year but they promise that – relatively speaking –
it will be ‘warm and mild’ compared to last year when arctic winds
plunged temperatures to below zero.
biggest party will be in Edinburgh – regarded as the world’s premier event.
More than 75,000 revellers, nearly half of them from outside the capital, will line Princes Street.
Celebrations: Up Helly Aa Vikings from the Shetland Islands shout while holding lit torches during the annual torchlight procession to mark the start of Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh, this evening
Out with a bang: Final preparations are made to the Hogmanay fireworks at Edinburgh Castle in Scotland ahead of the new year celebrations
festivities, which will be broadcast around the world, will feature the
traditional midnight fireworks and performances by 14 bands, headlined
by Scottish supergroup Simple Minds.
than 900 police and security staff will be on duty and Assistant Chief
Constable Graham Sinclair of Lothian and Borders Police, said: ‘I urge
revellers to be mindful of their safety. We want a great atmosphere and a
night to remember.’
The second biggest celebration is,
ironically, in the Aberdeenshire coastal town of Stonehaven, which has
recently taken a hammering from the weather, forcing dozens of
inhabitants to flee their flooded homes.
But Scotland’s bravest town fought
back and more than 20,000 people are expected in the Market Square for
the traditional fireball waving festival.
sell-out party begins today, with a series of events leading up to the
festival and a concert featuring Blazin’ Fiddles and the Red Hot Chilli
Stonehaven folk were determined to celebrate even as the clean-up operation continues.
Ross of Your Event Scotland said: ‘It’s been a massive undertaking in a
short time and we’re delighted that the festival is able to go ahead
after the terrible damage caused by storms.’
The festivities begin at 2pm tomorrow and will run until 1am the following day.
Festive cheer: Around 7,000 torchbearers are led by massed pipes and drums and the Up Helly Aa' Vikings from Shetland in a procession through the capital
Hotting up: The Vikings eschew traditional firelight techniques in favour of a blowtorch to set their torches on fire during a procession through Edinburgh as part of the pre Hogmanay celebrations
The country’s biggest city has its own
party, where the Glasgow loves Hogmanay celebration runs from 12 noon
until 10pm in George Square.
It promises traditional entertainment ‘with the best in Scottish music, food, drink and family fun’.
However, the party in Glasgow will, unlike Edinburgh, not go on over the Bells.
last such major event was for the start of 2011, but several months
later city councillors decided they could no longer compete with the
financial cutbacks they said they could not justify spending 34 per
head of the city’s population on New Year celebrations.
Stirling will host a night-time event on the esplanade, with the Proclaimers and various DJs.
Far from the big events, the tiny Perthshire village of Comrie will be honoured by the presence of a bona fide movie star.
Viking invasion: The annual Hogmanay celebrations saw Viking Erik Burgess from the Shetland Islands join a huge torchlit parade though Edinburgh
Hollywood hunk Gerard Butler will be a guest at the annual torchlit Flambeaux parade which dates back to pagan times.
The star’s parents lives in the area.
He said: ‘I love New Year’s Eve. The pipe band comes out and everybody lights huge wooden torches that they have to carry round like pillars, and march round the village to cast out all the old evil spirits. It’s amazing. It’s a great way to see out the old year.’
Revellers around the country will be hoping to see out the New Year with a kind climate.
And they will get it.
A Met Office spokesman said: ‘The weather will be cold but relatively dry compared to last year.
‘There will be a rain on Monday, clearing away to give generally dry weather with lighter winds over the Bells and temperatures staying above freezing.
‘But, as always, people should wrap up warm.’