Police break up Hogmanay gatherings at Edinburgh landmarks

The traditional street party and midnight fireworks in the city were cancelled due to the pandemic.

Police break up Hogmanay gatherings at Edinburgh landmarks Getty Images

Police dealt with revellers gathering at Edinburgh Castle to see in the New Year despite warnings to stay at home amid rising coronavirus cases.

The traditional street party and midnight fireworks in the city were cancelled, but some people still headed to the castle and Calton Hill to bring in the bells.

All of mainland Scotland is in the highest tier of Covid-19 restrictions, banning indoor visiting and more than six people from two households meeting outdoors.

Police Scotland warned people in advance against Hogmanay gatherings which could break current restrictions and potentially spread the virus further, while First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged Scots to mark the end of 2020 at home.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “We were aware of gatherings at Edinburgh Castle and Calton Hill around midnight on Hogmanay.

“Officers safely engaged with those in attendance and explained the current Government regulations, resulting in the groups dispersing without incident.”

Last year’s Hogmanay street party had around 100,000 visitors, with live performances from Idlewild and Mark Ronson in Princes Street Gardens.

To mark the start of 2021, the organisers of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay instead released “drone swarm” videos.

The series of videos, titled Fare Well, featured a swarm of 150 illuminated drones which formed symbols and animals in a “beautiful ode to Scotland”.

Underbelly, the producers of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, said it was the largest drone show ever produced in the UK.

The drones were flown in the Highlands before being “placed into shots separately filmed around Edinburgh” due to coronavirus restrictions, they said.

Director Charlie Wood said: “With 2020 being the year it has been, we want to ring out the old year and hurry in the new year, with a message of hope at a world-class event.

“Hope will be the universal message of the turn of the year, and ours will be no exception – Edinburgh’s Hogmanay’s mission is to sing it from the roof tops with a creatively-led and proudly Scottish celebration.”

While there were no midnight fireworks at Edinburgh Castle, a display was held at the Wallace Monument in Stirling.