Page last updated at 03:27 GMT, Thursday, 1 January 2009

Frozen revellers see in New Year

Firework display by Edinburgh Castle
A spectacular firework display heralded the start of 2009 in Edinburgh

Thousands of people have braved below-freezing temperatures to celebrate Hogmanay on streets across Scotland.

Temperatures plummeted to -3C in Edinburgh, where crowds of up to 100,000 gathered to watch a concert and sing Auld Lang Syne.

Revellers cheered as the bells sounded midnight and fireworks lit up the night sky around Edinburgh Castle.

Hogmanay crowds also celebrated in freezing temperatures in Glasgow, Aberdeen and the Highlands.

In the Highlands extreme lows had been expected, with some areas estimated to experience temperatures plummeting to as cold as -15C.

Huge crowds in Edinburgh - the self-styled home of Hogmanay - sang along as a video clip of Auld Lang Syne was played on screens across the city centre.

Here in Edinburgh we have the arena and the backdrop of the beautiful castle with 100,000 people together for one reason - to have a good time and to celebrate the New Year
Pete Irvine
Edinburgh Hogmanay creative director

Organisers said it was the world's biggest rendition of Robert Burns' poem, which is sung around the globe at New Year. It was arranged to mark the 250th anniversary of Burns's birth.

Earlier, dance act Groove Armada and singer Paolo Nutini were the big names performing at the city's Concert in the Garden event.

Scots rockers Glasvegas and electropop group Hot Chip also played on live stages at the world-famous street party.

After opening the celebrations in the capital, Paisley-born Nutini travelled to Glasgow to headline the city's Hogmanay celebrations in George Square, where he was joined on the bill by another home-grown act, Idlewild.

Creative director of Edinburgh's Hogmanay, Pete Irvine, said: "We've tried a big thing with Auld Lang Syne and put on a great show tonight.

"Here in Edinburgh we have the arena and the backdrop of the beautiful castle with 100,000 people together for one reason - to have a good time and to celebrate the New Year."

Hogmanay festivities in Edinburgh
Edinburgh's Prince's Street was packed with revellers for the celebrations

Lothian and Borders Police said the festivities in the capital had been safe and successful with only three arrests, for breach of the peace.

Assistant Chief Constable Bill Skelly said: "We have been delighted with the behaviour and attitude of revellers in Edinburgh this Hogmanay.

"We would like to thank the public for ensuring Edinburgh welcomed in the New Year in a fun but safe environment."

Singers Amy Macdonald and Sandi Thom headed Aberdeen's party at Castlegate, while The Magic Numbers had top billing in Inverness.

In the seaside town of Stonehaven, crowds were treated to a spectacular fireball parade, while Deacon Blue played at Stirling Castle Esplanade.

In Oban, cult bagpipe group the Red Hot Chilli Pipers were performing.

Despite the low temperatures, the calm weather conditions dispelled fears of a repeat of 2006 when high winds and torrential rain forced the cancellation of events in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling.


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