Caught a train from Kings cross station to Edinburgh – took about 4 hours so I did a lot of reading and sleeping and sneakily watching the movie that the girl next to me was watching on her laptop (although some bits I wish I hadn’t seen – so violent!! I think it was the Swedish film ‘The girl who played with fire’) The train was very full – so many people were standing in the isles and the carriage ends. Got to Edinburgh and tried to find the hostel but as I was walking it started pouring with rain so I quickly hailed a cab and got taken to our hostel ‘The castle rock hostel’ which was in the most brilliant location – 3 mins walk from the centre of town and only 1 min walk from the castle. We had an amazing view of the castle all lit up each night from our window!! Met up with Kevin, Claudette and Christina and we walked down the main street and bought torches which were made of rolled wax for the night torch lit procession to kick off the Hogmanay celebrations. We then sat in a café and had coffee and caught up – telling each other about our Christmases and holidays since we were all together last in Ireland.
The torch procession started at 6:30 – everyone gathered in the high street. As we were having coffee close by we were in the 2nd row to begin with. We waited about ½ hour – but got to have our photo with a Viking who was part of the procession and heard the bagpipe and drum marching band play so the time went quickly.
There was a little speech and then they started lighting everyone’s torches using blow torches at first and getting people to pass the flame along. It was such a cool sight to see the whole street gradually light up! They said that they had sold 6500 torches!! Then everyone started walking from the High street to Carlton Hill which took about an hour and a half. Loads of people joined the procession and they said that over 20000 people were up on the hill by the end. There was a formal opening of Hogmanay speech and then fireworks! It was such a cool night and left high expectations for the next night – NYE. Getting home was a little crazy as there were so many people but we stopped on the way at an Italian place for dinner. A wonderful start to the New Year celebrations.