Scotland Welcomes In 2017

1 January 2017, 09:27


Organisers of Edinburgh's Hogmanay have hailed the event a ''major success'' as tens of thousands of partygoers took to the streets of the city to welcome the New Year.

The sell-out event saw 75,000 people from across the world counting down the final moments of 2016 in the Scottish capital before a spectacular fireworks and laser show to welcome 2017 in style.

Following the dazzling display, revellers began a mass rendition of Queen's Don't Stop Me Now before crowds began singing Auld Lang Syne.

Revellers took part in the UK's largest outdoor winter festival celebrations before the clock struck midnight, with Scots favourite Paolo Nutini headlining the Concert in the Gardens.

The world-famous street party also saw performances from The Charlatans, Fatherson and Be Charlotte.

The traditional Old Town Ceilidh saw 5,000 people dancing through the midnight bells on Edinburgh's famous Royal Mile.

Four fireworks displays were held - at 9pm, 10pm and 11pm, rising to the crescendo of the spectacular Midnight Moment display from the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street Gardens and Calton Hill which also included a laser show this year.

This year's feverish countdown to midnight also lasted longer than usual - an extra second - as a so-called ``leap second'' was introduced to compensate for a slowdown in the Earth's rotation.

Early figures revealed there were only two arrests for minor disorder.

Police Scotland had ``reviewed'' safety plans for the event following the recent truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin.

Security was tightened across the the UK with fears of a mass-casualty terror plot targeting one the country's New Year events following the attacks on crowded areas in Nice and Berlin.

Chief Superintendent Kenny MacDonald said: ``Edinburgh has again welcomed the New Year with great flair.

''I would like to thank all our officers and stewards who have worked hard to deliver such a fantastic event.

''We have worked extensively over the last few months with the City of Edinburgh Council, Unique Events and other emergency services in order to plan the Street Party, Torchlight Procession and other festive events.

''I am very pleased to say that the event has passed with no major issues and that there have only been two arrests for minor disorder. These are preliminary figures that will be updated later today.''

Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations welcomes some 150,000 visitors from more than 80 countries while bringing in #42 million to the local economy.

Bosses at Edinburgh Airport had projected that more than 86,000 passengers would arrive between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve, the highest number in the period running up to Hogmanay.

Rosie Upton, 26, from Sheffield, said: ``I loved it. I love coming up to Edinburgh.

''The backdrop is definitely the best. Edinburgh has the castle and you can't beat that.

''And everyone is so friendly - it's such a good atmosphere.''

Lauren Ihle, 25 and her brother CJ, 22 from Minnesota, USA, travelled to the city especially to join in the celebrations.

Mr Ihle said: ``I'm having an amazing time. The hiking trails in Scotland are amazing and Edinburgh is just beautiful.

''The night is only just beginning but I heard that the fireworks are some of the best in the world and my sister has told me about a load of other cool stuff, so I think we're just looking forward to the night life which is pretty great from what I hear.''

Sophie Pearn, 30, and her new husband Craig, 31, from Durham, are on their honeymoon in the Scottish capital.

Ms Pearn said: ''We arrived yesterday morning and we're having a fabulous time.

''We've never been before, but I'm a teacher and go back to work on January 3, so we couldn't go away on a big honeymoon, so something like this for new year was ideal for us.''

Al Thomson, director of organisers Unique Events, said: ''What a great night. Paolo Nutini rocked the Concert in the Gardens, and revellers across the street party enjoyed a superb line-up across the four stages - what a great way to start 2017, the 70th anniversary of Edinburgh becoming a world leading festival city. ''

Parties and fireworks displays were being held elsewhere across the country, with Aberdeen hosting live music and a fireworks display lighting up the skies above His Majesty's Theatre.

Partygoers experienced a largely dry evening by the time the clock chimed midnight with temperatures above freezing.

Celebrations were expected to continue through the night and into the morning when more than 1,000 revellers will take a bracing dip in the River Forth at South Queensferry for the annual Loony Dook.

A New Year's Day tradition for more than three decades, this year around 1,100 people have signed up and are expected to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity when they run into the chilly water in the shadow of the Forth Bridges.