Hogmanay for New Years (Edinburgh)

Trip Start Dec 07, 2008
Trip End Jan 02, 2009

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A little under a week later I was on a tour bus heading back to Edinburgh for Hogmanay. I was on a tour with the majority of my housemates and with others meeting us up there. The bus ride up was a crazy party. It was mostly Australian and New Zealanders on the trip so there was no escaping my inner bogan. Most people were a mess by the time we reached Edinburgh. The hostel was a pretty poor standard, our room door wouldn't even lock. But it had a good bar so most people were happy.

We were out for drinks that night, and up the next morning to celebrate the Kiwi New Year at 11:00am and the Aussie New Year at 1:00pm. The Hogmanay street party is held mostly along Princes Street and the surrounding parks. When we got there, plenty of people were around but it steadily got more and more crowded over the next couple of hours. It became impossible to get anywhere quickly and because we were in such a large group it was hard to move people. We listened to music from the DJ stage until the fireworks went off at midnight. I had never seen so many fireworks go off in such a short space of time in my life. It was a barrage of light and noise, a fitting way to celebrate my first New Years overseas.

The next morning, there was no time for recovery. We were heading out to South Queensferry, next to the Forth Railway Bridge, to watch the Loony Dook Mid-Winter Swim. This is basically a charity event, New Years Day tradition where people dress up and go and jump in the freezing River Forth. I figured that I wouldn't get another opportunity to do that so why not join them. Before the swim there's a parade of participants down to the waters edge. Barefoot, topless and with surf shorts on, I was freezing long before I got close to the water. Running into the water I was rethinking my decision not to wear shoes. The rocks were sharp and it made it difficult to run. The anticipation was worse than the water itself. It was cold but the adrenalin was high. Reagan and I dove under the water. Coming up it was like the wind had been knocked out of me. It was hard to breath for a second but then it eased. I think I stayed in the water only about two minutes. Coming out again, the air that had been so cold all morning felt warm. What crazy things people do for fun. Memorable though.

After another night out, the tour headed back to London on the second of January. My Scotland trip was now over. Scotland was freezing, I got wet so many times. The days were so short and so many places were closed for the Winter. I had the most brilliant time and rate Scotland right up there with my favourite countries to visit. Scotland is so beautiful, with savage landscapes dotted with crumbling castles, deep lochs of dark black water and mountains and forests and snow... I could go on and on.
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Linda on

Great stories - I'm definitely doing Scotland.

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