Large Hogmanay crowds predicted

Hillingdon Times: Thousands of people take part in a torchlight procession through Edinburgh Thousands of people take part in a torchlight procession through Edinburgh

Tens of thousands of people are expected to descend on the streets of Scotland's capital for the world-famous Hogmanay celebrations.

Scottish rock band Simple Minds will headline the Concert in the Gardens, where they will be joined by The View and Bwani Junction against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.

The street party is expected to see 80,000 party-goers welcome in 2013, with performances from Mercury Prize nominees The Maccabees and Reverend and the Makers.

There will be five live stages and countdown fireworks at 9pm, 10pm and 11pm, with the midnight display from the ramparts of the castle.

Celebrations got under way in the city on Sunday night with a torchlight procession. A record crowd estimated at 35,000, including 7,000 torch carriers, were led by the massed pipes and drums and the Up Helly Aa' Vikings from Shetland.

The procession made its way through the city streets to the burning of the effigy of a Viking boat and a spectacular Son et Lumiere display on Calton Hill.

Events will also take place on New Year's Day, including sled dog races at Holyrood Park and a triathlon which will see competitors swim 400 metres of the Royal Commonwealth Pool, cycle 11 miles around Arthur's Seat and then run 3.5 miles.

The Loony Dook, the annual dip in the River Forth at South Queensferry, will also take place again.

Forecasters said after a wet and windy couple of days, the weather is looking better for Hogmanay.

Graeme Forrester, public weather service adviser for the Met Office, said: "There will be a fresh to strong west to north west wind with rain affecting the Edinburgh area on Monday morning clearing away to give generally dry weather with lighter winds over the bells and temperatures staying above freezing at 2 or 3C. As always revellers should dress for the conditions and wrap up warm."

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