Edinburgh’s Hogmanay – 2007 into 2008

The Launch Event – Wednesday 21 November 2007

I set out from Craigwell Cottage this morning to attend the launch event for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay which was being held at the newly opened Voodoo Rooms above the Cafe Royal in West Register Street at the east end of Princes Street in Edinburgh.

Taking advantage of the short-cut up the side of Calton Hill, I was able to avoid getting too wet and reached the Voodoo Rooms in under 10 minutes – good going for me! Must remember to put some information for guests about this route in my welcome pack at Craigwell Cottage.

The noise and spectacle started even before reaching the Voodoo Rooms, as there was a crowd of press photographers with their long lenses taking photographs of one of the pipers from the Red Hot Chilli Pipers posing with a monster. The monster will feature in the Monster Ceilidh on ‘the night afore‘ – that is 30th December 2007! I kicked myself for forgetting my camera – another photo opportunity missed! The bagpipe music was great, and it made me want to be sure of a place at the Scott Monument stage for the Hogmanay Street Party where the Red Hot Chilli Pipers are appearing.

Inside there was a warm welcome in the refurbished Voodoo Rooms – the black paintwork and ornate gilt plasterwork looked fabulous in the daylight – how much more atmospheric it must look after dark. A good crowd had gathered to have a Lorne Sausage roll, or a delicate taste of honeyed Scots porridge before hearing about what was to be on offer for the 4-day Edinburgh’s Hogmanay spectacular this year.

On stage in the supper room were Councillor Steve Cardownie, Peter Irvine from Unique Events, Tania Alonzi the Manager of Edinburgh’s Winter Festivals and George Grubb the Lord Provost of Edinburgh.

Together their message came over loud and clear: Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is going to be a very special event this year. There is an event for everyone – young and old, visitor and local. I was impressed by the increase in the offerings for families as it’s sometimes appeared that the celebrations were all for the ‘young, free and singles’ with not so much for the older, younger or family visitors. But not this year. There are also more events indoors for those who aren’t prepared to risk the weather dampening their fun.

I resolved to try to make it to the Torchlight Procession on 29 December, and to get to George Street for some of the fun and shenanigans planned on 30 December at the Night Afore event – which includes indoor and outdoor activities and entertainments – a truly Monster Ceilidh. Being part of the longest American Linedance along the length of George Street sounds like quite a challenge.

Throughout the season there’s also a serious of classic films about Scotland being shown at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse for when a wee rest in a dark place seems the order of the day. Look on their website for ‘Highland Reels’ for details.

The big Hogmanay celebrations on the night itself look incredible – there’s so much going on both indoors and outdoors and full details are on the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Website. The fireworks are my favourite bit – hope to see some of them from one of Edinburgh’s Seven Hills.

There are even events planned for the first of January 2008, when we all start our New Year Resolutions and can participate by flinging ourselves into the River Forth in The Loony Dook, running about daft in The One O’Clock Run, or if we’re really fit, taking part in the Edinburgh Bicycle Triathlon (no point in getting into training now, though, as it’s so popular entries have already closed…). The fit kids get to work out in the Iron Kids Duathlon – still time to get the kids into training for this! Even man’s best friend has an event: Edinburgh’s Dogmanay – husky racing.

Phew, think I’ll need a holiday after all this activity – maybe a trip to Sandcastle Cottage?

Susan McNaughton
21 November 2007

Anything to add?