#blogmanay – TorchLight Procession – The start of Edinburgh Hogmanay


In years gone by Scotland  had the tradition of gathering in a public square to see in the New Year, followed by “first footing” – visiting friends and family. First person over the threshold was preferably tall and dark – the dark hair signifying they were unlikely to be a Viking and “up to no good”.  And the traditional thing to bring along was a lump of coal for the fire  as well as perhaps, some shortbread, whisky or a dense fruit cake called Black Bun).





Edinburgh’s Hogmanay has come a long way since then, when the crowds gathered round the Tron Kirk on the Royal Mile for the Bells and then faded away. This was largely down to the vision of Peter Irvine, the man behind the Scotland the Best guide book.

By 2014 the event has grown to three days of activities and illuminations to brighten up this darkest time of the year.

The event that heralds the New Year is the torchlight procession. I’ve watched it snake through the town in the past , but have never walked along with it before, as I did this time. It’s an impressive sight, all those thousands of folk with their torches. And despite the fire and the crowds everything passes off safely and with good humour.



The final destination is the top of Calton hill where a huge bonfire was lit. Gazing at it, and in the presence of “Vikings” down from Shetland, I couldn’t help think of those people down the centuries who must have been captivated by similar fires. At that moment I felt aware of some kind of common thread linking us all – right back to those who might have been gathered around huge fires at sites like the mysterious settlement at the Ness of Brodgar on Orkney. It was just magical – no other word for it.






The spectacular finale was a son et lumiere that danced around the whole of the hilltop – from the skies above the bonfire, to the National Monument and the Nelson Monument. To the sound of Skyfall the stars blazed around us , glittered and exploded. A fitting way to say goodbye to a year if ever there was one.


#blogmanay is brought to you by Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and is supported byETAG,EventScotland,VisitScotland,and co-creators Haggis Adventures. Created and produced byUnique Events. As always, all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.


Sparkling Edinburgh

december star

In winter Edinburgh can get pretty dark and gloomy. So its just as well that there are so many reasons to festoon the city with as many lights as possible. In recent years there seem to be ever more, and that is just fine by me. The more lights in the darkness the better.







From the end of November onwards there are more and more lights added until by the time New Year comes the city is a riot of lights.

The Christmas market , ice skating and high flying rides are still in full swing if you fancy a wee whirl into Edinburgh in the next couple of days.

#blogmanay is brought to you by Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and is supported byETAG,EventScotland,VisitScotland,and co-creators Haggis Adventures. Created and produced byUnique Events. As always, all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

New Brooms and Giveaways….

(Image is of some of the fire installations placed on the Royal Mile and around St Giles Cathedral the night before Hogmanay. Slightly strange, but very striking and created by the French street theatre group Carabosse)

January – month of new brooms , clean sweeps and fresh plans.  I used to dislike January , as it seemed to symbolise all the things I hadn’t managed to get done during the last year. Since I’ve managed to reframe things and look at it as a whole fresh year, I like the month a lot more.  Even the extra long snowy period we’ve had , and are still having , seems to symbolise fresh starts and a clean slate.

Of course, it helps to have a few tricks up your sleeve, to  get things moving. Along with a lot of other people, I’ve shifted my idea of new year resolutions, opting instead to choose a word for the year. Christine Kane  has written a lot about this , and even created a tool for helping to decide  what your word could be. I swithered a lot about my word for 2010 but have gone back to my initial choice which was “Bold”. It feels a little out of my comfort zone, so that means it is probably about right ! Have you chosen a word for the year ?

For years I’ve done what I simply called collages, but that are now more often called “Vision Boards” – but a new idea has been to join in with creating collages in line with the phases of the moon . From the new moon onwards collecting images that appeal and then making up a collage on the full moon. As there was a full moon on New Year’s Eve this all tied together very nicely.

And in the spirit of  cleaning up store cupboards and refreshing inventories I’m going to do a few giveaways over the next little while, as I change some of the focus in my Etsy shop. First up I have one Polaroid Calendar and one mini 12 City calendar  to give away. To be in with a chance just leave a comment telling me  which is your favourite item in my Etsy shop ( and which calendar you’d prefer if you’re a winner).

I will also ( finally) be launching my ezine this month, so if you’d like to be in the know, from the start , you can sign up  from the link on the right or from here – and receive two downloadable postcards* )