Hundreds of torch bearers have created a huge map of Scotland to mark the start of Edinburgh’s three-day Hogmanay festival.
Thousands of people snaked their way down the Royal Mile and past the Scottish Parliament to Holyrood Park where the outline of Scotland was lit up.
At least 20,000 participants and 20,000 spectators turned out for the huge procession.
People from 49 countries marched alongside pipe, drum and dance bands from across Scotland, including Edinburgh Samba Band, Glencorse Pipe Band and Hawick Scout Pipe Band generating a beat to accompany the blazing procession.
Leading the procession this year was a 40-strong cast from Scotland’s pioneering Celtic Fire Theatre company, PyroCeltica. Its Highland Warriors showcased an array of fire skills featuring fire fans, huge flaming claymores and fire staffs, set to the drumming of the Harbingers Drum Crew.
Marking the conclusion of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, young people were firmly at the heart of the Torchlight Procession and the opening of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay as part of #ScotArt, the national youth participation project which engaged hundreds of young people across Scotland.
#ScotArt Young champions who have led the project, each carried a banner emblazoned with their regional symbol.
The #ScotArt sculptures then came together to form a heart shape at the centre of the outline of Scotland.
The event ended with performances by PyroCeltica, DJ Calverto, The Torches and a headline performance from Stephanie Cheape.
The event ended with fireworks from Calton Hill.
As part of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay renewed partnership with One City Trust, 50p was donated from every ticket sold for the Torchlight Procession, raising over £10,000 for the trust.
Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, directors of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay said: “We’re so thrilled and honoured to have put young people at the burning heart of Scotland at the start of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and the close of the Year of Young People.”
Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, Frank Ross, said: “What an amazing feeling leading thousands of torchbearers through Edinburgh’s Old Town for our annual Torchlight Procession.
“This year’s event was even more breathtaking thanks to its fiery finale, which featured hundreds of young Scots arranging their torches in order to create a glowing outline of Scotland.”
Paul Bush, VisitScotland’s director of events, said: “Edinburgh Hogmanay’s incredible Torchlight Procession has once again kick-started three-days of celebrations for those seeking to bring in the New Year in style.
“Famous the world over for spectacular images of both visitors and locals illuminating the city streets, the event continues to reinforce Scotland as the perfect stage for events.”
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