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canoeing, kayaking and other adventures

canoeing and kayaking adventures born in the Southeastern U.S. and now centered in Scotland...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Hogmanay 2007 - Fireballs in Stonehaven - 31/12/2007

To celebrate Hogmanay and belated Christmas, Brian took me to Stonehaven to catch up with his family and chase away the bad spirits of 2007 at the Fireballs.

Still suffering from the flu, we waited to the 31st to make the journey north, opting instead to sleep through most of the period of the 27-30 Dec in hopes of recovery. It helped somewhat -- most of the congestion was gone by then and both of us were hacking often enough that we turned it into a bit of a competition. Being out in the cold for Hogmanay wasn't the most sensible thing we could have done.

The wikipedia page for Hogmanay mentions the Stonehaven Fireballs in reasonable detail. Brian and I had a handful of bad spirits to chase away. We joined Brian's sister, her boyfriend and her friend Jill and I think we met up with some other people that they knew at the Fireballs procession, which began promptly at midnight. The basic tradition is that wire balls are filled with flammable things, lit and swung overhead by nominated Fireball swingers as they walk up and down the High Street. At the end of the burning, the remnants are chucked into the harbour and the bad spirits of 2007 are chased away. Fireworks and First Footing follow.

We first footed Rod's granny and I guess his mum, too, though she and Ken were asleep after a good night of dancing in the New Year.

On New Year's Day, everybody gathered at Brian's mum's house for a big meal, more drink and much merriment. Ron and Arshiya phoned from Rome and spoke to a mostly asleep Brian. He doesn't remember much of the conversation. We returned to Edinburgh at a leisurely pace the next day.

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