Covid borders lead to downsizing of second Hogmanay


Nowhere else in the world celebrates Hogmanay like Scotland, but for a second year, Covid restrictions have caused large event cancellations.

Despite the rules, around 1,000 people of all ages climbed to the top of Calton Hill in Edinburgh to do the traditional midnight bell countdown.

Ahead of Christmas, Premier Nicola Sturgeon urged people to “stay at home as much as possible”.

We booked and paid for the torchlight walk at Calton Hill and are very disappointed

Captain Kevin Pope of Zimbabwe

New limits on large public gatherings have forced the cancellation of New Year’s street parties for the second year, including the one scheduled for Edinburgh which draws tens of thousands of people. Street parties in Hogmanay across Scotland have been called off, with crowds at outdoor public events capped at 500 since Boxing Day, for at least three weeks, and the number of indoor public events limited to 100 standing or 200 seated.

Some people weren’t put off and traveled thousands of miles to party in Edinburgh and make the most of a discounted New Year.

Brenda Jane Baxter-Vell, from Zimbabwe, traveled to Edinburgh with her friend Captain Kevin Pope, after losing her husband to Covid-19 in November and her father earlier in the year.

The clock at the Balmoral Hotel at midnight on New Years Eve in Edinburgh with Edinburgh Castle in the background, which would normally be lit by fireworks as the bells ring on New Years Eve (Jane Barlow / PA)

(PA wire)

Ms Baxter-Vell, speaking outside a bar on the Royal Mile, said: “We have a lot of family stories in Scotland and we will spend our time finding them.”

Captain Pope, former member of the 1st Kings Own Scottish Borderers, said: “We have booked and paid for the torchlight march to Calton Hill and we are very disappointed.

“However, in a true spirit of flexibility, we made plans within the guidelines and restrictions. “

Hannah Vorchmann, 52, from Gdynia in Poland, said the £ 500 she and her husband paid for the night in Hogmanay at an Edinburgh hotel was a lot to them.

Chinese visitors celebrate New Years with sparklers on Calton Hill in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow / PA)

(PA wire)

Ms Vorchmann added: “We saw on the internet that the street celebrations in Edinburgh were on hiatus, but we couldn’t cancel and we arrived today and left at 4pm on New Years Day.

“Everything is so beautiful and we will be back next year.

Eileen and Chris Chalmers from Dreghorn in Aryshire had a few extra vacation days to use.

Ms Chalmers said: ‘We have specifically chosen to visit Edinburgh and the Mortonhall site, in our motorhome, as the large-scale festivities have been canceled.

“It seemed like a great time to come to town. “

A handful of revelers celebrate on Victoria Street in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow / PA)

(PA wire)

Canadian music producer Karl Ziegler, 22, and his partner Liv May, 23, from Manchester, visited Edinburgh with the aim of spending time with their family.

Mr Ziegler said: “Covid disrupted our plans because a family member tested positive, so since Liv hasn’t been here before, we’ll have three tourist days.”

Ms Sturgeon said the restrictions were aimed at reducing transmission of the Omicron coronavirus variant and because “big events place an additional burden on emergency services.”

The latest daily figures showed 11,962 more coronavirus cases had been recorded in Scotland – with 22.6% of return tests positive.

Thirteen more deaths were reported in statistics on Friday, bringing the total number of people who died within 28 days of a positive test to 9,858.

Meanwhile, 859 people were hospitalized with coronavirus on Thursday, up from 810 the day before, with those in intensive care increasing by two to 36.

Piper Dave Tunstall, 44, who caught Covid-19 earlier in the year, traveled to the capital from Paisley to play on the Royal Mile.

“I play music with my bagpipes helps pay the bills right now,” said Mr. Tunstall, “I play double bass in a band called Langan but the work is short.

“In previous Hogmanays we have played concerts in London,” he added.

“It’s great to be able to bring music to people at this time of year. “


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