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Edinburgh Hogmanay: A Torchlight Procession Led by Vikings!

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Hogmanay Torchlight Procession

A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to take part in the Hogmanay Torchlight Procession through Edinburgh city centre to the top of Calton Hill. The spectacle is more or less the same each year, so this post and my photos will still be relevant.

Every year, the celebration of Hogmanay (New Years Eve) in Edinburgh is an enormous city-wide festival that lasts at least three days!

And the kick-off event is the Hogmanay Torchlight Procession, which takes place on the 30th of December each year.

This huge event sees thousands of locals and visitors taking to the streets of Edinburgh’s Old Town, holding aloft flaming torches. The procession is led by a group of genuine Vikings from the Shetland Islands, dressed in full warrior garb and holding truly enormous torches to lead the crowds.

The year I attended happened to be the biggest procession to date, with over 40,000 people taking part and of us 10,000 holding flaming torches. It was a thrill to be part of this spectacular event.

Edinburgh HogmanayTorchlight Procession

With the #blogmanay team, we were right up front, behind the huge group of noisy, hairy Vikings who lead the annual torchlight procession through the city centre.

Our flaming torches held high into the air, we set off behind the vikings from the starting point on the Royal Mile and down to Princes Street. Piping bands and drummers saw us off in the grandest way possible as we descended the hill towards the spectacularly lit Princes Street Gardens, past crowds of onlookers.

Hogmanay Torchlight Procession

The whole experience was absolutely amazing. Standing halfway up Calton Hill once we’d made our way to the top, and looking back at the river of orange light stretching back across the city, I was staggered by the huge volume of people taking part in this beautiful tradition, kicking off Edinburgh’s three-day celebration of the New Year.

Below, I’ve included a few of my favourite shots from the Hogmanay Torchlight Procession – let me know what you think in the comments!

Hogmanay Torchlight Procession
Viking torches burning.
Hogmanay Torchlight Procession
Our torches were quite a bit smaller!

Edimburgh Hogmanay Torchlight Procession: 2021 Update

Although many of the Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh were cancelled last year, most are back on for 2021. This year, the Hogmanay Torchlight Procession is back on and has been carefully put together for more security.

For 2021 the torchlight procession will be spread out between 4pm and 9pm, to avoid overcrowding. There will also be three different start points.

This year it’s also a ticketed event and you need to purchase tickets and pre-book torches in advance if you want to take part.

Check out the Hogmanay website or social media pages for the latest info!

How are you celebrating Hogmanay or New Year’s Eve this year? Keep following #blogmanay to see how Edinburgh does New Year’s! 

#blogmanay is brought to you by Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and is supported by ETAG, The Scottish Goverment, VisitScotland, Festivals Edinburgh, Marketing Edinburgh, Arnold Clarke Van and Car HireRabbies Tours and co-creators Haggis Adventures. Created and produced by Unique Events. As always, all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

4 thoughts on “Edinburgh Hogmanay: A Torchlight Procession Led by Vikings!”

    1. Thanks so much Naomi! I was really pleased with how the photos came out actually. It was such a cool night and just looked amazing – like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Have you ever been?

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