By Courtney Cameron, The Scotsman
THE Capital’s three-day Hogmanay celebrations have kicked off in style as 40,000 revellers descended on the city for the Torchlight Procession.
Wrapped up warm in hats and scarves, residents and visitors from all over the world marched from the Old Town to Calton Hill carrying hundreds of wax based torches blazing with fire.
Pic Greg Macvean - 30/12/2015 - The night before torchlit procession leaves George IV Bridge on their way to Calton Hill led by Up Helly AA' Vikings from Shetland
Led by 26 hairy Up Helly Aa Vikings from Shetland and six pipe bands, the 10,000 Torchbearers illuminated the city’s streets – accompanied by their friends and families – lighting up the path from the George IV Bridge to the Son et Lumiere and fireworks display at Calton Hill. Despite the day’s torrential weather conditions, thousands still turned up for the event, which is the first of many celebrations over the next few days.
Lewis Grant, 24, from Silverknowes, who participated in the procession for the very first time said: “I’ve seen so many pictures from the Torchlight procession in the past and they looked amazing – I knew I just had to be a part of it this year.
“The atmosphere is just exceptional, so far it certainly hasn’t disappointed.”
The procession began at 7pm at the George IV Bridge and was viewed by around 40,000 people along the route.
In the past, the Torchlight Procession has been dubbed the “river of fire”, due to the effect it creates.
Julianna Campbell, who has travelled from Singapore to experience Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Cclebrations said she had never seen anything quite like it.
She said: “My husband is from Scotland and he has always spoken of how well Edinburgh celebrates New Year.
“Now I am here, seeing it for myself, I know what he means – there’s nothing quite like it.”
The Torchlight Procession will be followed by the Street Party, Concert in the Gardens and the Old Town Ceilidh this evening.
Councillor Richard Lewis, Edinburgh’s Festival and Events Champion, said: “This year’s Hogmanay is all set to be real cracker. With spectacular events including the Loony Dook I would encourage everyone to come along and experience what Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is really about.”