Thousands get Edinburgh’s New Year bash off to flier at Torchlight Procession

Up Helly Aa' vikings take to the streets of the Capital

Up Helly Aa' vikings take to the streets of the Capital

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EDINBURGH’S Hogmanay party got under way in style last night as thousands gathered for one of the busiest Torchlight Processions in the history of the Capital’s New Year celebrations.

The city centre was so thronged that organisers had to close Calton Hill – site of the Son et Lumiére fireworks finale – with huge crowds still waiting to enter from surrounding streets.

Thousands walk down North Bridge during the Tochlight Procession

Thousands walk down North Bridge during the Tochlight Procession

Locals and visitors from across the world walked side by side and praised the procession’s unique atmosphere.

Pauline Colles, 42, from Coulter, who had come with her children, Mylo, four, and Hollye, three, said: “I can remember it when it first started all those years ago and it’s just got bigger and bigger.

“It seems a lot more multicultural and exciting now and it’s really promoting Edinburgh as that sort of place.”

Zee Domingo, 27, from Sydney, Australia, said: “We don’t have anything like this back home and the fact so many people have come together for it is really nice.

“We’ve been travelling around Europe and we were looking up the best places to go at New Year and this one popped up. It’s been amazing.”

Hannah McIntosh, 24, a customer services assistant from Leith, said: “We wanted to do something that’s really traditional at this time of the year and something family-oriented as well. This has just been perfect.”

Welcoming revellers to the opening event of Edinburgh’s three-day Hogmanay bash, Councillor Richard Lewis, the city’s culture and leisure convener, said: “The Torchlight Procession is one of our most popular events, especially for families.

“Last year, 28,000 people attended and we look set to equal that.”

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com