Page last updated at 08:14 GMT, Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Procession to light up Edinburgh's winter festival

Procession in Princes Street
The torchlight procession signals the start of Edinburgh's New Year celebrations

Thousands of party-goers gathered in the centre of Edinburgh as the Hogmanay celebrations kick off.

The Torchlight Procession from Parliament Square on Tuesday marked the start of the five-day-event.

It went from the Royal Mile to Calton Hill where it ended with a firework display.

It came ahead of Edinburgh's Street Party on Princes Street where 80,000 are expected to gather to see in the New Year.

The party programme also includes the Night Afore - Light Night, which will see city venues including Edinburgh Castle illuminated to present specially commissioned events and Off Kilter, a dance piece, which runs throughout the festival at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre.

Emergency services and Edinburgh City Council have issued a number of guidelines warning revellers to stay safe, be sensible and keep warm and dry during the celebrations.

'Bitterly cold'

Robert Aldridge, Edinburgh City Council environment leader, said: "While we expect revellers to have a great time, we would encourage everyone to dress for the weather and listen to advice from police and stewards who will be working extremely hard on the night to make sure everyone has a good time safely."

Jim Watson, Met Office public weather service advisor, said: "The weather for Hogmanay evening looks like it will be generally cold and clear.

"With the risk of snow showers affecting the city, there is a possibility that there will be some further snow on the ground.

"Temperatures will be just below freezing but with a brisk north-easterly wind, the chill factor will make it feel bitterly cold - more like -8C.

"I would advise people to ensure they wrap up warm and as untreated surfaces could be icy, sensible footwear would be a good idea."



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