Whether it’s fire, fun or filthy frolics, Scotland has the perfect Hogmanay location. Words: Anna Millar
Take a drive along the west coast. home to some of the finest beaches in the world. and enjoy a tequila slarnmer or two (to combat the chill) as the sun sets on a new year. During the surntner months Scottish beaches are overrun with tourists trying to furtively soak up the rays on offer. but winter offers a serene bias towards Scotland‘s most stunning — and secluded — beaches. (‘heck out the Bay at the Back of the Ocean on lona or the arnorously titled llushinish Bay on the Isle of Harris. Toast in the new year as you lap up the beautiful turquoise waters.
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Romancing the stone
Wrap up and enjoy a truly mythical new year as you toast 2001 in all its old world glory under the electric atmosphere of ancient standing stones. The slanting stones at Temple Wood Stone. Kilmartin in Argyll provide the perfect celebratory location. The site is l.5km south of Kilmartin village. Take the first minor road on the right going south on the A816. and after 0.5km park beside the Temple Wood stone circles. They are in the fields opposite the circles. There‘s a car park just off the tnain road.
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Frisky fire starters
Biggar showcases a re—enactment of a primordial Druid lire festival satiated with torchlight procession and bonfire celebrations. the tradition being to burn out the old year and burn in the new one. Alternatively. the traditional lire festival. Burning of the (‘lavie. takes place in the Moray coastal town of Burghead. Patty-goers have to wait. however. to pop their cork the event takes place on | I January. the old date for Hogmanay before the calendar changes in moo. South of Aberdeen. Stonehaven hosts the traditional l‘ireball Ceremony. where large fireballs are lit and swung round on large wires. Allegedly to fend off evil spirits. ()r tnayhe just potential revellers.
Walk up a hill and watch the sun rise on a new era. Plot a point on the map. set off in the car and remember to crack open a bottle of charnpers when you reach the summit. Avoid too much exertion — Hogmanay is a celebration after all — and try something akin to the liildons in the Borders. The three hills are visible from just about anywhere in the Borders and are gentle enough for new year revellers. complete with stunning views.
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If all that sounds a little like too much hard work. the Isle of Skye presents a tempting alternative with a range of cottages perfect for a relaxed dinner and tipple pre-bells. (‘repigill (‘ottage is a fully refurbished former blacksmith‘s cottage on liilean a‘(‘heo and is perfect for a romantic break for two. Places are still available for new year bookings.
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For something a little more regal (read: stylishly exuberant). hiring a castle is this year‘s vogue. Borthwick (‘astle stands on the summit of a knoll on the periphery of the Borders immortalised by Sir Walter Scott. Fenton Tower comes replete with fortified l()th century tower. and Belle Isle (‘astle dates from the early l7th century juxtaposing original period opulence with a plethora of modern facilities. They can all be hired for Hogmanay frolicking. Prices start at a not-too- shabhy £1200 and go up to £8000 depending on locale and number of guests.
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For something closer to home check out The List on 27 Nov for the ultimate Glasgow Hogmanay guide. And don’t miss The List’s bumper issue out on 1 1 Dec, complete with a guide to the best Hogmanay gigs, days out and events to be had in Edinburgh.
Perfect places for New Year (clockwise from top): Beach and croft on the Isle of Harris; tires at Burghead; snow at Biggar; and the castle at Stonehaven
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