Hogmanay: Crowds don't pass on the torch
A RECORD 25,000-strong crowd turned out for the annual Torchlight Procession which snaked through the city last night, opening a four-day Hogmanay festival.
LIGHT WORK: Fireworks on Calton Hill bring the festivities to a close. Pictures: JANE BARLOW and IAN GEORGESON
Augmenting the traditional format, a free concert area on The Mound attracted hundreds of revellers who watched around 6000 torchbearers parade from the High Street to Princes Street before making their way to Calton Hill for a dazzling fireworks display.
Despite being hamstrung by the weather, organisers were delighted with how smoothly the event ran and were thankful the bulk of the snow had been cleared in time.
Speaking before the event, Al Thomson, marketing manager for Edinburgh Hogmanay, said: "The weather hasn't helped preparations and we have been battling against the elements, but now it's a lot milder and the weather is perfect for the procession.
"The city looks brilliant and with many tourists having arrived already we will be expecting a good turnout - it's likely we will have a record."
The previous record crowd was between 20,000 and 25,000 people, but organisers said they thought that had been eclipsed last night.
"The procession is a family event with people who have been coming here for years," said Mr Thomson. "Some people come when they are youngsters and grow up to bring their kids out to it. It's a great way to start the four-day festival."
He added: "We are always redesigning the event to try to use the buildings, lighting and fireworks set to different music every year. The main difference this year is a concert area which (was] free from between 5pm and 9pm at The Mound and is also free on January 1.
"The sight of the torch carriers is spectacular and must be one of the biggest events of its kind in the country."
As the Capital prepares for tonight's Hogmanay celebrations, the forecast is for a mainly dry night, but cloudy.
The temperature is forecast to stay above zero, with a light easterly wind - although revellers are still reminded to dress warmly.
Organisers said there had been a late surge in ticket sales with several Hogmanay events sold out, though Street Party tickets were still available.
Party-goers are advised to plan ahead, arranging a meeting point with friends, and think about their trip home.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 3 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: West