And it’s Scotland for New Years! #Blogmanay

The Christmas holidays passed through Thailand quite discretely. It could be the lack of snow and jolly Christmas carols, or most likely the fact that my family is so far away, but whatever the reason, Christmas didn’t feel all that Christmassy this year… I ended up celebrating by going out for a veggie wrap here in Chiang Mai and then watching Love Actually for the first time. (It’s not as depressing as it sounds – I did also get to meet up with friends before and after Christmas!)

However, while my Christmas holidays were quite low-key, that’s all about to change for New Years. Yup, I’m heading over to Edinburgh for an infamous celebration known as Hogmanay!

Sligachan, Isle of Skye - Flickr CC Greg Neate

What is Hogmanay?

Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year, but the event itself is hardly a one day affair. The Scots know how to ring in the New Year in style, and I’m going to be attending a three day celebration that will have me dancing to Scottish folk music, parading across town with a fiery torch in hand, and I have a feeling there may be some whisky involved, or a lot of whiskey…oh boy.

The celebrations will be broken down into several events, among them:

– The Street Party: An estimated 80,000 revellers will be ringing in the New Year in Edinburgh with local and international bands playing across various stages.

– Torchlight Procession: Vikings and fire? Yes! The Torchlight procession will be led by the Up Helly Aa’ Vikings from the Shetlands as thousands of torch carriers march through the city before ending up in Calton Hill.

– The Keilidh: A massive outdoor dance floor, a food village and a bar. This sounds like the perfect place to learn some fancy footwork.

– Loony Dook: Now here’s a strange event – on New Years day people willingly choose to parade down High Street in their bathing suits and wacky outfits before jumping into the icy waters of the River Forth. It still remains to be decided whether I’ll be a spectator or whether I’ll partake!

The Northern Face, Ben Nevis - Flickr CC Graeme Law

A bit of travel around Scotland

After the New Year’s festivities, I will have a bit of time to explore more of Scotland. My route will take me past Stirling, which is known as the Gateway to the Highlands; Glencoe, which was the setting to the chilling Massacre of Glencoe; Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles; Eilean Donan, the famed castle which sits on a small tidal island in Loch Duich; the Isle of Skye, home to stunning landscapes; and Loch Ness for the chance to spot Nessie. But most of all, what I really want to see is a hairy Highland Cow! Can you blame me? Look at that face!

Highland Cow Family - Flickr CC Nick Jewell

And that will conclude my whirlwind tour of Scotland! There is still so much more I want to do, so if you have any recommendations on where to find the best deep-fried Mars bar, or where to eat a hearty breakfast the morning after New Years, let me know in the comments below. I’ve done very little planning, and I’m going to have plenty of down time to explore Edinburgh, so I’d love to hear your suggestions.

And if you see #Blogmanay trending on Twitter, now you know what the fuss is all about. 😉


Any recommendations for Edinburgh?

And more importantly, where will you be celebrating?

Eilean Donan Castle - Flickr CC Paul Stevenson

#blogmanay is brought to you by Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and is supported by ETAG, EventScotland,
Homecoming Scotland, VisitScotland, Edinburgh Festivals, Marketing Edinburgh, Historic Scotland and
co-creators Haggis Adventures. Created and produced by Unique Events.


  • Val says:

    I was just in Edinburgh in November but only for 3 nights. I loved it. The castle was lovely and the dark city tour at night was so good. I really want to make it for Hogmanay some year! Jealous!
    Val recently posted..#77 Eat a burger cooked in 100 year old grease at Dyer’s Burgers in Memphis.My Profile

  • Ashley says:

    I LOVE Edinburgh! You should do an underground vault/ghost tour, and if you want a little flashback from the Middle East, you must eat at Hanam’s- it’s amazing! I’m excited for your upcoming posts and videos from Scotland!

  • Brittany says:

    Never been so thanks for taking me along for the ride. Amazing photos.
    Brittany recently posted..Confessions of a BloggerMy Profile

  • Kerry says:

    I have always wanted to spend New Year’s in Scotland! I’ll follow Blogmanay closely with only a small touch of jealousy.

    But I think the more important point here is how the heck you lasted this long without seeing Love Actually?!? It’s only a Christmas classic – I’ve watched it twice in the last week! Once while on a bus to the Iguazu Falls! Did you love it? Wasn’t Emma Thompson brilliant?
    Kerry recently posted..A not-so-Christmassy ChristmasMy Profile

  • Can’t wait to see pictures and hear stories of all your adventures! Love all your Asia posts, but it’s so cool to see you branch out a bit. 🙂 I hope to do that in the near future as well! Happy New Years Audrey!
    Amanda @ Living in Another Language recently posted..December CHRISTMAS GiveawayMy Profile

  • Maria says:

    Audrey, you’re starting the new year off RIGHT! Can hardly wait to read your posts from Scotland with your special flare for storytelling.
    Maria recently posted..Haiku – Sustenance of LifeMy Profile

  • Franca says:

    It sounds like a good plan Audrey, enjoy Scotland and make sure you taste a lot of good whiskies and scotchs, there are very good ones in Scotland!
    Franca recently posted..Weekend Photo Theme – Fruit StandsMy Profile

  • Jessi says:

    I’ll be there! Can’t wait for the torchlight procession, street party and Loony Dook – although like you I am undecided yet whether I will be a spectator or participant. Looking forward to reading your posts about this and the other parts of Scotland that I hope to get to one day 🙂
    Jessi recently posted..My Favourite Adventures of 2013My Profile

  • Renuka says:

    Hogmanay sounds fun and interesting. I will be celebrating New Year in my new home town! Hope it’s fun. 🙂
    Renuka recently posted..The Divine Dandeli – A Photo EssayMy Profile

  • Ryan says:

    Hogmanay is something I’ve always wanted to do and it seems like the perfect way to experience Scotland. Looks like quite the wild time each year and I’m sure it’ll be a blast. Have a wicked time, cannot wait to see the photos!

    My Christmas felt the same as yours, not very Christmasy…
    Ryan recently posted..Ghost of my Christmas Past found me in Koh Phi PhiMy Profile

  • Oh this sounds like such a fabulous trip… I only got to see Edinburgh, but it did whet my appetite, and I can’t wait to go back soon. I still don’t know where I will be on New Year’s but hopefully it will be at a hockey game! I do hope you take the icy plunge – you won’t regret it I promise, and it will make for a great story. I swam in Lake Baikal (twice!) and that turned my body numb, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.
    Colleen Brynn recently posted..The Year That WasMy Profile

  • Amanda says:

    Have tons of FUN!!! I did #Blogmanay last year, and it’s seriously the best New Year’s I’ve ever had. It will be VERY tough to top!

    (Oh, and definitely do the Loony Dook! It’s insane and cold, but SO MUCH FUN.)
    Amanda recently posted..Visiting the Cliffs of MoherMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      I remember seeing your Loony Dook photos – brave girl! I think I would need a wetsuit to be lured into the waters. 😉 Enjoy your New Years!

  • Yilin says:

    I’m studying abroad in Edinburgh right now for a year and loving it. Definitely spend some time exploring the city on foot–there are lots of places to see on the Royal Mile and in both the Old Town and New Town. Edinburgh is a picturesque city, perfect for bloggers and photographers. Also, there’s still Christmas markets at Princes Street Gardens…
    Yilin recently posted..Edinburgh in Winter: Edinburgh Light Night 2013My Profile

    • Audrey says:

      Thanks for the suggestions. I spent my first day in the city doing quite a bit of walking, and accidentally stumbled upon the Christmas market – it was so much fun! I have to agree with you, it really is a picturesque city. 😉 I hope you’re enjoying your time abroad here!

  • Michelle says:

    Did you not enjoy Love Actually? It’s my favourite movie haha!
    Your New Years sounds like it’s going to be amazing, I’ll be celebrating quietly with my family this year 🙂
    Michelle recently posted..20 Random FactsMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      It was a pretty cool movie. It’s kind of cool how all the characters were interconnected in the end. 🙂 Enjoy your New Years with family – ringing it with loved ones is the best way.

  • Angela says:

    I celebrated the New Year with friends in Pennsylvania. I flew home to be with friends and family for the holidays. It was a great trip! I hope you had a wonderful New Year celebration. Cheers!
    Angela recently posted..2013 Travel Round UpMy Profile

  • Jemma says:

    Audrey, it sounds like you’re going to do Scotland right. I live in Glasgow and have lived in Stirling in the past- if you’d like me to hook you up with some people to take you drinking or sight seeing or just for recommendations, get in touch. We are also hoping to get to Up Helly Aa this year, if only we can get the time off work!
    Jemma recently posted..FosteringMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      Scotland was great! My week there just flew by. I didn’t make it out to Glasgow, but I might be coming back to Scotland in the spring for a longer visit. If I do, I’ll hit you up for some tips. 😀 I hope you two make it up to Up Helly Aa – I’ve heard so many wild things!

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