Edinburgh Hogmanay Torchlight Procession

One of the highlights of the three day festival that is Edinburgh’s Hogmanay (hogmanay is the Scottish word for the last day of the year), was, without a doubt, the Edinburgh Hogmanay Torchlight Procession.

I’d been looking forward to it for a while. I mean, how often do you get the opportunity to wander around with a burning torch these days?!

At first, just one, a single torch was lit. It quickly spread and a veritable sea of light was created. Thousands of people carrying flaming torches above their heads began to slowly follow behind vikings from The Shetland Isles, at the tip of Scotland, who were flanked by a traditional Scottish pipe band.

Edinburgh Hogmanay Torchlight Procession

Vikings wielding fire!

We continued carefully (I was a tad concerned my hair would be set on fire!) along the route which would eventually lead us onto Calton Hill, overlooking the city for a spectacular fireworks display. Looking back as we began steadily climbing the hill and seeing the sheer amount of torches was incredible. As we were reaching the top, behind us there was a shimmering sea of people still crossing Edinburgh‘s North Bridge.

Edinburgh Hogmanay Torchlight Procession

A fiery sea of people

The flames seemed to make everyone and everything glow in their soft, gentle light. Despite there being thousands of people around, it was quiet and peaceful. Everyone was in awe at the sheer amount of torches around us. It was absolutely magical.

When we finally made it onto the hill, which many didn’t because it was so busy, it was time for some celebratory fireworks. A taster of what would be to come as the bells struck midnight the following evening to mark the beginning of 2013. The fireworks were wonderful, but little did we know the ones at the bells would make them pale in comparison!

Edinburgh Hogmanay Torchlight Procession

I simply loved taking part in the torchlight procession and, if you ever have the chance, I recommend you buy a torch and take part too. It’s beautiful, calming and fills you with a warm glow that is surely the perfect frame of mind to bid farewell to one year and get ready to welcome in another.


This campaign is brought to you by Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and is supported by VisitScotlandETAGEdinburgh FestivalsHaggis Adventures and Skyscanner. The campaign bloggers were sourced and managed by iambassador. As always, opinions are my own.


7 Responses to Edinburgh Hogmanay Torchlight Procession

  1. Kirsten

    I think that was my favorite part of NY/NYE in Edinburgh. I too would highly recommend people make sure to not miss that part of Hogmanay.

    Missin ya lady. Let’s have a reunion soon in Scotland, aye?

    • Emma Gray

      I absolutely loved it! Aye, let’s reunite soon. Get your butt back to Scotland!

  2. Kaitlin

    I saw some of the parade on the TV and it looked amazing (I’ve never heard of it before), I would definitely love to make it there one day

    • Emma Gray

      It really was amazing. If you get the chance to go then please, take it!

  3. Arup

    Hi Emma, been trying to find out the exact route of the Torchlight Procession. Intention is to book a hotel somewhere along the way. Can you please help with the exact route?

    Btw, intend to spend Hogmanay in Edinburgh this year. Doing the bookings now.

    • Emma Gray

      Hi Arup,
      Thanks for getting in touch.
      The route when I took part was leaving from Parliament Square, down the Royal Mile, across George IV Bridge then up towards Calton Hill where the fireworks display is. Not sure if the route will be exactly the same this year but if you book a hotel around that area then you won’t be far wrong.
      I’m sure you will love Hogmanay in Edinburgh, it’s probably the best new years experience I’ve ever had. If you have any further questions then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Happy to help :)

  4. Arup

    Many thanks! Reading your other posts….very interesting.

Add a Comment