Hogmanay celebrations: Scotland brings in the new year

Crowds gathered in Edinburgh witnessed a spectacular fireworks display

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Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Edinburgh for the Scottish capital's world-famous Hogmanay celebrations.

The party saw some 75,000 revellers welcome in 2013 with a spectacular firework display from the castle ramparts.

Scottish rock band Simple Minds headlined the Concert in the Gardens, alongside The View and Bwani Junction.

Smaller events have taken place in towns and cities across the country.

There were five live stages for the Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh, with countdown fireworks at 21:00, 22:00 and 23:00, as well as the midnight display from the ramparts of the castle, which was accompanied by music for the first time.

Start Quote

We are the best party on the planet and people are here from all over the world”

End Quote Pete Irvine Edinburgh's Hogmanay

Pete Irvine, artistic director of Edinburgh's Hogmanay, told the BBC that weather conditions in the city were "perfect" for the sold-out party, which he said had proved to be as popular this year as it had ever been in its 20-year history.

He added: "I think what is happening here is we are pretty well established, we are the best party on the planet and people are here from all over the world. People want to have fun, they want to have a good time, and this is one place obviously to do that."

Tickets for the celebrations were bought by those in more than 60 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Japan, Turkey and the USA.

Joanna White and a group of friends travelled from Melbourne and Adelaide in Australia to experience their first Hogmanay in Edinburgh.

She said: "We love Hogmanay, we want to come back here every year. It's been awesome.

Fireworks go off over Edinburgh Castle as part of the new year 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland Countdown fireworks at 21:00, 22:00 and 23:00 set the skies alight

"There are a lot more people here than we thought, and there's people from everywhere.

"It's just a bit cold but we're loving it. You can't have a bad time here. It's perfect."

Celebrations got under way in Edinburgh on Sunday with a torchlight procession.

A record crowd estimated at 35,000, including 7,000 torch carriers, was led on the procession by the massed pipes and drums and the Up Helly Aa' Vikings from Shetland.

The procession made its way through the city streets to the burning of the effigy of a Viking boat and a spectacular Son et Lumiere display on Calton Hill.

Party-goers on Princes Street in Edinburgh, Scotland crowd during a part of the New Year 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations Tens of thousands of people were in the capital for Hogmanay

Events will also take place on New Year's Day, including sled dog races at Holyrood Park and a triathlon which will see competitors swim 400 metres of the Royal Commonwealth Pool, cycle 11 miles around Arthur's Seat and then run 3.5 miles.

The Loony Dook, the annual dip in the cold waters of the River Forth at South Queensferry, will also be held.

Elsewhere, Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire hosted its traditional fireball display despite the floods that hit the town over the past fortnight.

A sell-out crowd of more than 20,000 people congregated for the Open Air in the town's historic Market Square, which was also due to feature music by the Red Hot Chilli Pipers and Blazin' Fiddles.

Revellers in Aberdeen brought in the new year with a fireworks display at His Majesty's Theatre, while the Proclaimers headlined a Hogmanay concert on the esplanade of Stirling Castle.

And Big Country topped the bill at the Red Hot Highland Fling in Inverness.

But for the second year in a row, there were no official celebrations at midnight in Glasgow - with the city's Hogmanayday event in George Square ending at 22:00.

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