Thousands enjoy Beltane Fire Festival

Beltane Fire Festival. Picture: Scott Taylor
Beltane Fire Festival. Picture: Scott Taylor
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WET weather failed to dampen the spirits of thousands of spectators who flocked to Calton Hill for an annual feast of flames, flesh and fertility.

Hundreds of brave performers, their skin covered only by threadbare costumes and body paint, faced the cruel elements for the 27th Beltane Fire 
Festival – the pagan-inspired celebration which heralds the beginning of summer.

Beltane Fire Festival. Picture: Scott Taylor

Beltane Fire Festival. Picture: Scott Taylor

They danced and drummed the night away as around 12,000 people watched on while the flames fought valiantly to stave off the rain.

The weather was no problem for spectators, including Brittany Davidson, 20, a second-year student at Edinburgh University.

She said: “Of course we’ve got rain because it’s Scotland. We have come prepared and I’m really excited.”

Organisers insisted there was never any chance that the rain would get the better of the celebrations.

Beltane Fire Festival. Picture: Scott Taylor

Beltane Fire Festival. Picture: Scott Taylor

Producer Tom Watton, 27, said: “It’s wet but we are cheerful. We have had rain before and it won’t be the last time, but we are here rain or shine.”

The festivities began just after 9pm and went on until around midnight. Michelle Merriman, 50, came all the way from Oregon in the United States to witness the extravaganza, which got under way when figures with flaming torches mounted the National Monument and set light to huge images of spring which hung between the pillars. Ms Merriman said: “I am here for a couple of weeks and this is the first time I’ve been to Beltane.”