75,000 revellers celebrate another successful Hogmanay party

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AROUND 75,000 revellers descended on the Capital for another successful Hogmanay which saw crowds dance their way into the world record books.

More than 4000 party-goers brought in 2016 at the Old Town Ceilidh in Parliament Square, smashing the Guinness World Record for the largest ever Scottish country dance.

Spectacular fireworks light up the sky above the Castle at the bells. Picture: TSPL

Spectacular fireworks light up the sky above the Castle at the bells. Picture: TSPL

And organisers heralded the festival for maintaining its title as the “envy” of the world, with no reported incidents from police or ambulance services.

A small number of people were treated by staff at the event as temperatures dipped to 2C – but no-one was seriously hurt.

One young woman was seen being wrapped in a thermal blanket as the cold became too much during the Biffy Clyro performance at the Concert in the Gardens.

And at least one Twitter user claimed he had flouted the Calton Hill ban on public access to see the fireworks at the best vantage point in the city.

The Old Town Ceilidh in Parliament Square. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The Old Town Ceilidh in Parliament Square. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams said: “Edinburgh has once again welcomed in the new year in style. I would like to thank everyone who turned up for supporting officers and stewards to deliver a safe and hugely enjoyable event.

“We have worked for many months with the City of Edinburgh Council, Unique Events and other emergency services to plan for the street party and I am delighted that it passed with no arrests.”

Crowds danced in the street despite the cold temperatures up until 1am yesterday – with residents in apartments and hotel rooms waving to the 
revellers below.

And British astronaut Tim Peake broadcasted a touching New Year message to crowds, who took a brief reprieve from partying to listen to the broadcast from onboard the International Space Station.

A beaming Mr Peake interrupted Biffy Clyro’s performance just before the bells to tell the city how he had enjoyed many Hogmanays in the past – but he could not think of any place better to spend the festivities than in space.

The astronaut, the first Brit to board the Space Station, then made the most of his weightlessness and spun upside down on screen to the delight of roaring crowds as he said goodbye.

Maxïmo Park, punk band and Mercury Prize nominees Slaves, and Glasgow group White performed on the Waverley Stage, while on the Castle Stage, Celtic music stars Shooglenifty, Peatbog Faeries and Rura welcomed in 2016 with a bang.

The only visible sign of annoyance came from Biffy Clyro fans who had not managed to make their way into Princes Street Gardens in time for the show.

The fireworks extravaganza at the end of the event failed to disappoint as the masses joined hands for Auld Lang Syne.

Revellers travelled from as far afield as India and the United States to witness the event.

Brad Campbell, 40, who travelled from Utah with his family especially for the Old Town Ceilidh, said his “eight-hour flight had been worth it”.

“We’ve always wanted to come to Scotland for a ceilidh, so we just decided to take the plunge and do it,” he said.

“We didn’t know any of the dances but tonight we’ve certainly learned something new.

“I think the Dashing White Sergeant was my favourite.

“It has just been phenomenal.”

This was the second time Biffy Clyro had performed at Hogmanay. They also took to the stage at the foot of the Castle Rock in 2010.

James Johnston, one of the band members, said: “We feel very privileged to be back. It’s the biggest party of the year in the most beautiful location.

“There isn’t another city that celebrates the turn of the year more than Edinburgh.”

Lindsey Welch, 24, and her partner, Austin Armstrong, 23, travelled from Texas.

She said: “My sister lives in Glasgow and she’d told us all about Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations, so we wanted to come and experience it.

“We didn’t expect it to be quite as cold. We are so excited to see what all the fuss is about. The atmosphere is great on its own, never mind anything else.”

But some weren’t amused with how busy The Mound was at around 11pm.

Louise Ross, 19, from Leith, said: “It’s ridiculous how busy it is. It’s fine on Princes Street but up here it’s a nightmare.

“It was the same last year – you’d have thought they would have fixed the problem. How can you enjoy yourself when you feel crushed?”

Some people also complained on Twitter but officials and emergency services did not report any issues.

Councillor Richard Lewis, festivals and events champion, said: “Yet again, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations have been the envy of cities across the globe with one of the most impressive fireworks displays.”