Tens of thousands attend Edinburgh’s torchlight procession

Around 40,000 people took part in the iconic annual march to mark the start of the city's new year celebrations.

'Be Together': Helicopter captures image of handshake. Edinburgh
'Be Together': Helicopter captures image of handshake.

Around 40,000 people have taken part in the iconic annual torchlight procession through Edinburgh to mark the start of the city’s new year celebrations.

Locals and tourists – along with pipers, drummers and dance groups – made their way down the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle on Monday evening.

The procession was led by fire artists from the Celtic Fire Theatre company, PyroCeltica, whose performers showcased huge flaming claymores, fire staffs and a fiery Mohican.

At Holyrood Park, where the procession culminated, thousands of torchbearers made the shape of two people reaching out a hand in friendship.

Torchlight procession: Thousands take part.

This represented the theme of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, “Be Together”, with the scene captured from a helicopter overhead.

From each ticket for the event, 50p has been donated to the OneCity Trust charity, which raised over £9400 for its work in Edinburgh aimed at combating social exclusion. 

Directors of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, said: “The sold-out Torchlight Procession was Edinburgh’s Hogmanay’s iconic opening event.

“A moment in the year when thousands of people came together at the start of Hogmanay to celebrate the end of the year and extend a hand of friendship physically in the flaming symbol created in Holyrood Park and metaphorically to their friends and neighbours.

“An image to be proud of, of warmth, welcome and friendship set against the beautiful backdrop of Edinburgh.

“We’re delighted so many people turned out to take part and spectate.”

Pyrotechnics: Fire artists led the march.

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost Frank Ross – who is also a patron of the OneCity Trust – said: “Once again, the sight of the Torchlight Procession provided a breath-taking start to Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.

“It’s a real privilege to lead the 40,000-strong procession along the Royal Mile to the beat of pipes and drums, ending with a fireworks finale in Holyrood Park.

“The event resulted in an incredible donation of £9400 to the OneCity Trust and I’d like to thank everyone who helped to raise funds this winter.”

Hogmanay: Procession kickstarts three days of celebrations.

Paul Bush, VisitScotland’s director of events, said: “Scotland and indeed Edinburgh’s world-famous Hogmanay celebrations are a massive draw for those seeking to bring in the new year in style, and further reinforce Scotland as the perfect stage for events.   

“With lots in plan for the next few days including The Loony Dook and the start of Message from the Skies there’s set to be something for everyone.”

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay will continue on Tuesday with the annual street party and performances by acts including Mark Ronson, Marc Almond and Idlewild.

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