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Fulfilling My Lifelong Dream to Visit Scotland

Location: Scotland

As you probably can imagine from the title, it’s been a lifelong dream of mine to visit Scotland. Through the years, I’ve seen so many breathtaking images, watched countless movies that were filmed there and I’ve always been fascinated with the rich history and culture of the Scottish people. Thankfully for me, my girlfriend Kirsten Alana was offered an opportunity to return to Scotland for her third time for Hogmanay, the world famous New Years Eve Festival set in Edinburgh, and took me along for her adventure.

To be quite honest, I didn’t really know what to expect of Hogmanay or really how big the festivities would be. Having a New Years Eve celebration set in such a historic city as Edinburgh definitely intrigued me, and I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised. The festivities began a day earlier, on December 30th, with a torchlight procession which is the official start of the three-days of Hogmanay events. A total sell-out each year, approximately 40,000 revelers from approximately 50-60 countries and 8,000 torchbearers led by the Up Helly Aa Vikings snaked from George IV Bridge in the Old Town, along Princes Street and Waterloo Place, before the finale on Calton Hill with a fireworks display above the city. The march is affectionately called the “river of fire” and after we climbed up top to Calton Hill and looked below to see the revelers with their torches, it immediately became clear to me why.

Edinburg's Hogmanay Torchlight Procession map

Edinburg’s Hogmanay Torchlight Procession map

This event was nothing short but spectacular. I’ve got to admit, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for bagpipers, Scottish culture and tartan kilts, and the procession had plenty of those things. But the entire procession left me in awe, and I could really tell that the city and people of Edinburgh were really celebrating their heritage and history that night. The excitement in the air was palpable and the atmosphere electric. Be sure to check out Kirsten’s images from the event by visiting her blog post here.

The next day we prepared ourselves for the new years eve celebrations, music, fireworks and a copious amount of photographing. The massive outdoor street party featured five stages with various music acts began at 9pm which included Twin Atlantic, The Twilight Sad, Hot Dub Time Machine and Lily Allen just to name a few. It was by far, the biggest new years eve celebration / party i’ve ever attended. Shortly before midnight Kirsten and I wanted to make sure we had a front-row seat and a good view of the fireworks which were set from Edinburgh Castle. I mean, fireworks set from a medieval castle? YES PLEASE! It doesn’t get much better than that and I think that’s why the celebration in Edinburgh is so unique. There are so few places in the world where you can experience a grand new years eve party set in such a historic city.

I should note that I unfortunately don’t have many images from the grand fireworks finale at midnight as we only had one tripod, but I hope you get the idea how amazing it was from the one shot I was able to capture:

Edinburgh Fireworks

Edinburgh Fireworks

Of course, our trip didn’t end there. After we rang in the new year in spectacular fashion, Kirsten and I took a road trip with fellow bloggers and photographers Laurence Norah from Finding the Universe and Juno Kim from Runaway Juno to Glencoe and Glen Etive. Stay tuned for my next post about that experience which was nothing short of amazing.

#blogmanay is brought to you by Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and is supported by ETAGEventScotland, VisitScotland, Homecoming Scotland 2014 and co-creators Haggis Adventures. Created and produced by Unique Events. As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.