Hogmanay – Happy “Hoggo-nott”, “hoog min dag”, “oge maiden”and “Homme est né”

The ancient Scottish celebration of Hogmanay has its origins in both Norse and Gaelic culture so it’s perhaps not surprising that drinking and feasting played a big part then as now in this ancient Yuletide festival. The dawning of a New Year has always been a time to celebrate, but in Scotland it’s THE biggest event of the Festive Season overshadowing Christmas Day. Don’t forget that Christmas was effectively outlawed by the Prostestant Kirk in Scotland in the late 17th Century, so for 400 years (right up to the 1950s) many Scots worked on Christmas Day and saved their festivities for Hogmanay.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party is known all over the world and it attracts many visitors who mingle with local residents and enjoy the torchlight processions and magnificent firework displays which are at the heart of the two-day celebration. This festival is a ticketed event in the city and with headline acts of the calibre of Rag ‘n’ Bone Man at this year’s Hogmanay concert you need to book early to guarantee entry. There are plenty of events happening around the city that don’t require tickets and you can see the fireworks from almost everywhere in town.

Since ancient man unlocked the mystery of fire, flames and fireballs have been an integral part of many Pagan celebrations and fire is still a big attraction and a major feature in some of Scotland’s more unusual Yuletide celebrations.

One that is should be on everyone’s Hogmanay bucket list is the Fireball Festival at Stonehaven. This amazing spectacle takes place each year on 31st December minutes before the town hall bells chime for midnight. The street party and entertainment gets going from 11 pm, but if you want a good view of the ‘swingers’ who literally swing giant flaming balls around as they process through the town, then you need to get there by 10.30 pm.

A similar fire festival takes place at Comrie with the Famous Flambeaux Event. This procession is a little more sedate than the swinging fireballs at Stonehaven but the tall birch pole torches are impressive and the street party is family friendly with a fancy dress competition for children earlier in the evening.

Towns and villages across Scotland celebrate Hogmanay with a bonfire. However, some are BIGGAR than others! The ancient market town of Biggar in South Lanarkshire lights its huge Hogmanay bonfire around 9.30pm and it will still be burning brightly when the bells bring in the New Year.

Finally, the Burning of the Clavie at Burghead takes place not on the 31st but on the 11th January – which would have been New Year’s Eve according to the Gregorian calendar. The residents of Burghead celebrate Hogmanay twice but the Clavie (which is a barrel of burning staves) is only lit on the 11th and it too is processed around the small town before being left to burn out on the ramparts of an ancient fort on Doorie Hill.

So, if you fancy letting fire frighten away bad spirits and burn off the old ready for the new then come and celebrate Hogmanay in Scotland. There will be plenty of another famous Scottish spirit on offer, but that’s another story. And if you don’t fancy heading out of doors then you can settle down in front of your own fire and raise a dram to the New Year – but be prepared to welcome a ‘tall dark stranger’ as the Scot’s tradition of First Footing is still widely practiced.

 

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  • Oystercatchers

    • 11 Properties with 4 star(s)

    Oystercatchers

    Highlands and Skye (28 from Portree)

    Sleeps up to 6

    Oystercatchers is a traditional 1 1/2 storied former croft house, located down a quiet lane, right on the water's edge in the township of Lower Breakish. Sleeps up to 6 adults and cot/ high chair is available. Peaceful setting with grounds going down to water's edge. 3 miles from nearest shops.

  • Mains of Murthly Cottages

    • 2CtQ
    • Pets Welcome

    Mains of Murthly Cottages

    Perthshire, Dundee & Angus (1 mile from Aberfeldy)

    Sleeps up to 4

    Two attractive, stone-built self catering holiday cottages with log fires and spectacular views overlooking Aberfeldy and the mountains in the west- Ben Lawers and Schiehallion. 25% discount for booking for February and March.

  • Neuk Hoose, Crail

    • 1CtQ
    • Pets Welcome

    Neuk Hoose, Crail

    Kingdom of Fife (Anstruther)

    Sleeps up to 4

    Neuk Hoose is a grade 2 listed 200 year old former fishermans cottage lovingly restored right in the heart of the conservation village of Crail in the East Neuk of Fife.

  • Stable Lodge

    • 11 Properties with 4 star(s)
    • Pets Welcome
    • Disabled Access

    Stable Lodge

    Argyll, the Isles, Stirlingshire (2 miles from Drymen)

    Sleeps up to 4

    NEW ***Stable lodge is a luxury 2 bedroom Scottish Highland lodge close to the village of Drymen on the east side of Loch Lomond. A great location for exploring Loch Lomond and The Trossachs.
    Panoramic mountain views, deck and wood burning stove. Pet Friendly.

  • Treshnish & Haunn Cottages

    • 44 Properties with 4 star(s)
    • Pets Welcome
    • Disabled Access

    Treshnish & Haunn Cottages

    Argyll, the Isles, Stirlingshire (15 miles to Tobermory (45 minutes by car) from Mull)

    Sleeps up to 6

    Accessibly remote & situated on 'RSPB UK Nature of Farming Award' farm, our eco-friendly, simple yet comfortable cottages provide a perfect base for exploring this beautiful area. Great wildlife & wildflowers on the farm, & lovely family beaches nearby. Well behaved dogs welcome too! Open all year.

  • The Old Cart House, Auchtermuchty

    • 11 Properties with 4 star(s)
    • 1CtQ
    • Pets Welcome
    • Disabled Access

    The Old Cart House, Auchtermuchty

    Kingdom of Fife (11 miles from Cupar)

    Sleeps up to 4

    The Old Cart House at Newhill Farm Cottages
    Cosy Country Cottage with inclusive leisure facilities
    Indoor Pool, Indoor Hot Tub, Large Outdoor Hot Tub, Games Room, Outdoor Play Area & Tennis Court. Scenic & Peaceful.
    Charming Cottage with lots of character, open log fire & pet friendly.

  • Kinlochlaich Tree House, Appin

    • 11 Properties with 4 star(s)
    • 1CtQ

    Kinlochlaich Tree House, Appin

    Argyll, the Isles, Stirlingshire (18 miles from Oban)

    Sleeps up to 4

    Kinlochlaich Tree House is an unique and beautiful building designed for an extra special, totally original, self catering holiday in Appin, Argyll, located between Fort William and Oban. Ideal get-away for couples, or those looking for an extra special location to escape to. Sleeps 2+2 children

  • Aird Farm Holiday Cottages, Ardfern - Aird Steading Cottage

    • 11 Properties with 5 star(s)

    Aird Farm Holiday Cottages, Ardfern - Aird Steading Cottage

    Argyll, the Isles, Stirlingshire (27 miles from Oban)

    Sleeps up to 2

    Luxury, cottage with spectacular views to Jura, Scarba, Mull and Corryvreckan Whirlpool. One of the finest views on the West Coast. Walking, amazing scenery, wildlife – ideal retreat for romantic holiday.

  • Cologin Farmhouse and Cruachan Cottage

    • 2CtQ
    • Pets Welcome
    • Disabled Access

    Cologin Farmhouse and Cruachan Cottage

    Argyll, the Isles, Stirlingshire (2.5 miles from Oban)

    Sleeps up to 12

    Cologin Farmhouse, a traditional Scottish property with five spacious bedrooms sleeps 10/12 people in luxurious surroundings. Cruachan Cottage (one bedroom) is perfect for couples and boasts some of the best views at Cologin. Both properties let from Friday to Friday and both welcome up to 2 pets.

  • Pitcairlie Lodge, Auchtermuchty

    • 11 Properties with 4 star(s)
    • Pets Welcome
    • Disabled Access

    Pitcairlie Lodge, Auchtermuchty

    Kingdom of Fife (Cupar)

    Sleeps up to 4

    The original gate keeper's cottage The Lodge, provides cosy accommodation, especially with a log burning fire place. All guests have access to the indoor swimming pool, sauna in the main house and lovely walks around the 100 acre grounds. Fly fishing too!

  • Pitcairlie Holiday Apartments, Auchtermuchty - Garden

    • 11 Properties with 4 star(s)
    • Pets Welcome

    Pitcairlie Holiday Apartments, Auchtermuchty - Garden

    Kingdom of Fife (16 miles from St Andrews)

    Sleeps up to 3

    Set within a 100 acre estate of woods, streams and parkland, Pitcairlie is a 16th Century Castle offering luxury self-catering holiday accommodation near St Andrews. Garden is a cosy apartment and just perfect for a romantic special occasion!

  • Mangle Cottage,  Pittenweem

    • 11 Properties with 5 star(s)
    • Pets Welcome

    Mangle Cottage, Pittenweem

    Kingdom of Fife (10 miles from St Andrews)

    Sleeps up to 4

    Fabulous and quirky Mangle Cottage, perched above Pittenweem harbour, combines nautical surrounds with touches of modern luxury and truly amazing seaviews. This cottage is so much more than your average coastal bolt hole. The ultimate luxury retreat.

  • Laich Cottage, Appin

    • 11 Properties with 4 star(s)
    • 1CtQ

    Laich Cottage, Appin

    Argyll, the Isles, Stirlingshire (18 miles from Oban)

    Sleeps up to 4

    Wood fired Hot Tub; Tennis Court; Ping Pong Hut; beautiful gardens: Laich Cottage http://www.kinlochlaichgardenselfcatering.co.uk/accommodation/laich-cottage/ has its own private sunny garden with views to the hills and a garden table and chairs. New kitchen and bathroom. Cycling. Walking.

  • Quinag Cottage

    • 1CtQ
    • Pets Welcome
    • Disabled Access

    Quinag Cottage

    Highlands and Skye (23 miles from Ullapool)

    Sleeps up to 8

    Quinag is a luxury contemporary holiday house in Achiltibuie on the Coigach peninsula in the North-West of Scotland, enjoying south-west facing views of the Summer Isles, Loch Broom, and the mountains of Wester Ross beyond.
    Relax and unwind in this uniquely unspoilt corner of Scotland.

  • Dalkeith House

    • 11 Properties with 5 star(s)
    • Pets Welcome

    Dalkeith House

    Scottish Borders (20 miles from Hawick)

    Sleeps up to 10

    5* Lux Manse heart of village. 2hrs Edin/Glas/Newc. Perfect for groups, celebrations, special occasions, sleeps 10; 5 dble beds/4 baths Loads of living space. Dog friendly, secure garden. WIFI, 2 x 50inchTV's. Restaurants, cafes, pubs, catering. Dark skies 30 min, activity centre, 7stanes MTB.

  • Moray Cottages

    • 22 Properties with 4 star(s)
    • Pets Welcome

    Moray Cottages

    Aberdeen, Grampian & Moray (14 miles from Tomintoul)

    Sleeps up to 5

    An exceptional barn conversion creating 2 luxury self catering holiday cottages, equipped to the highest standard; just ouside Dufftown at the heart of Malt Whisky country in beautiful rural surroundings.

  • Crosswoodhill Farm Holiday Cottages near Edinburgh

    • 11 Properties with 3 star(s)
    • 11 Properties with 4 star(s)
    • 22 Properties with 5 star(s)
    • Pets Welcome
    • Disabled Access

    Crosswoodhill Farm Holiday Cottages near Edinburgh

    Edinburgh and the Lothians (30 minutes' drive from Edinburgh)

    Sleeps up to 14

    4 award-winning, exceptional 3 to 5 Star homes on hill livestock farm in West Lothian. Close to many “Outlander” film locations. Explore Crosswoodhill's website with appealing rural images, detail and amazing guest feedback. Individual cottages sleep 2 - 14. Wheelchair and pet friendly.

  • Cockle Kitty Cottage, Cliftonhill

    • 11 Properties with 4 star(s)
    • Pets Welcome

    Cockle Kitty Cottage, Cliftonhill

    Scottish Borders (3 miles from Kelso)

    Sleeps up to 4

    Cockle Kitty is a contemporary holiday cottage with some original features. You will relax immediately beside the wood burner. Enjoy starry skies from the hemmel arch window. Sky TV. WiFi, Tennis court .2 bed rooms, 1 bathroom.
    Relax by the wood burner. 0844 409 9521 or e-mail. Tennis court.

  • Killin Log Cabins

    • 33 Properties with 4 star(s)
    • 11 Properties with 3 star(s)

    Killin Log Cabins

    Argyll, the Isles, Stirlingshire (1.5 miles from Killin)

    Sleeps up to 8

    Killin Log Cabins (with free Wifi) are situated near Killin and Loch Tay in beautiful woodland. These excellent self catering lodges are ideally placed to enjoy a variety of activities; walking, fishing and golf. Detached cabins with private outdoor space and excellent bbq facilities available.

  • Yethouse, Luxury Farmhouse Cottage

    • 11 Properties with 4 star(s)
    • Pets Welcome

    Yethouse, Luxury Farmhouse Cottage

    Scottish Borders (20 miles from Hawick)

    Sleeps up to 8

    Spacious farmhouse rural Scottish Borders. 2hrs Edin,Glas, Newc. 3 beds/3 baths, sleeps 8. Dog friendly secure grounds. WIFI, real fires, 2 x 50 inch TV's. Kitchen/diner, dining room, parlour, lounge. Activity centre, swimming, mountain bike trails, pub, cafe, restaurants. 30 mins Kielder Dark Skies

  • Cloag Farm Cottages

    • 33 Properties with 3 star(s)
    • Pets Welcome

    Cloag Farm Cottages

    Perthshire, Dundee & Angus (7 miles from Perth)

    Sleeps up to 4

    Three comfortable, family-run farm self catering holiday cottages. Located away from main roads, and with panoramic views, this is a great base for visiting east and central Scotland. Open all year.

  • Pitcairlie Holiday Apartments, Auchtermuchty - Eland

    • 11 Properties with 4 star(s)

    Pitcairlie Holiday Apartments, Auchtermuchty - Eland

    Kingdom of Fife (16 miles from St Andrews)

    Sleeps up to 6

    Set within a 100 acre estate of woods, streams and parkland, Pitcairlie is a 16th Century Castle offering luxury self-catering holiday accommodation near St Andrews. Eland is an extremely spacious, elegantly furnished, self-catering holiday apartment, ideal for entertaining with friends or family.

  • Farleyer Lodge

    • 11 Properties with 4 star(s)
    • 1CtQ
    • Pets Welcome

    Farleyer Lodge

    Perthshire, Dundee & Angus (2 MILES from Aberfeldy)

    Sleeps up to 22

    Hidden in the heart of Highland Perthshire, this stunning holiday house is a fine example of a traditional highland lodge with breathtaking scenery . Sitting in its own mature, 17 acre Garden Farleyer Lodge is a warm and welcoming property.

  • Alltshellach Cottages, The Old Stables

    • 11 Properties with 4 star(s)

    Alltshellach Cottages, The Old Stables

    Highlands and Skye (0.5 miles from Ballachulish)

    Sleeps up to 6

    Situated in a peaceful hamlet close to the banks of Loch Leven in the Scottish Highlands, our two 4 star self-catering holiday cottages are surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery in Scotland, close to Glencoe, Fort William and the village pub (The Old Ferry Bar at The Loch Leven Hotel).

  • Steading Holidays

    • 13CtQ
    • Pets Welcome
    • Disabled Access

    Steading Holidays

    Highlands and Skye (1 mile from Ardnamurchan)

    Sleeps up to 7

    Steading Holidays are a family run business located in Ardnamurchan, Britain's most westerly point and offer a variety of accommodation including cottages, houses and log cabins including Pet Friendly properties. Short Breaks available.

  • Dunalastair Estate Cottages

    • 55 Properties with 3 star(s)
    • 44 Properties with 4 star(s)
    • Pets Welcome

    Dunalastair Estate Cottages

    Perthshire, Dundee & Angus (18 miles from Pitlochry)

    Sleeps up to 8

    Our secluded self-catering holiday homes are scattered around huge Dunalastair Estate in Rannoch, a true haven of rare wildlife and unspoilt highland scenery. Walk from your door, fish the loch, cycle the quiet roads, climb Schiehallion. There’s so much to do. Pets welcome. Log fires. WiFi.

  • The Hideaway Experience

    • 33 Properties with 5 star(s)

    The Hideaway Experience

    Perthshire, Dundee & Angus (4 miles from Dundee)

    Sleeps up to 2

    Welcome to The Hideaway Experience located on our family farm at the foot of the Sidlaw Hills, just north of Dundee, in Angus, Scotland.

    We have three Hideaways, all graded 5 star from Visit Scotland.

  • Sandford Country Cottages

    • 44 Properties with 5 star(s)
    • Pets Welcome
    • Disabled Access

    Sandford Country Cottages

    Kingdom of Fife (9 miles from St Andrews)

    Sleeps up to 6

    One,two and three bedroom 5 star self-catering cottages and apartments which are part of Sandford House, a ‘B’ Listed Arts and Crafts House designed and built around 1902. Located in Newport on Tay in the glorious Fife countryside, just 9 miles from St Andrews and 5 miles from Dundee.

  • Aird Farm Holiday Cottages, Ardfern - Aird House

    • 11 Properties with 4 star(s)

    Aird Farm Holiday Cottages, Ardfern - Aird House

    Argyll, the Isles, Stirlingshire (27 miles from Oban)

    Sleeps up to 6

    Luxury, house with spectacular views to Jura, Scarba, Mull and Corryvreckan Whirlpool. One of the finest views on the West Coast. Walking, amazing scenery, wildlife – ideal retreat for romantic or family holiday.

  • Forbes of Kingennie Country Resort

    • 1414 Properties with 4 star(s)
    • Pets Welcome
    • Disabled Access

    Forbes of Kingennie Country Resort

    Perthshire, Dundee & Angus (6 miles from Dundee)

    Sleeps up to 10

    14 luxury self-catering lodges offer first class accommodation in an outstanding countryside location sleeping from 2 to 10 guests per lodge. On site facilities include Waterside Restaurant, Cairn O' Mount Bar, 5 fishing ponds, 9 hole golf course, putting green, driving range, maze and play park.

  • Mountview Self Catering

    • 22 Properties with 4 star(s)
    • Pets Welcome
    • Disabled Access

    Mountview Self Catering

    Highlands and Skye (0.5 miles from Lochinver)

    Sleeps up to 4

    Prime waterside location with breathtaking views of spectacular mountains. Luxury self catering log cabins and Mountview Holiday cottage, 10 minutes walk from Lochinver. Hill walking, fishing and an abundance of wildlife nearby.

  • Loch Seil Cottages

    • 33 Properties with 4 star(s)
    • Pets Welcome

    Loch Seil Cottages

    Argyll, the Isles, Stirlingshire (10 miles from Oban)

    Sleeps up to 4

    3 luxury self catering cottages offering comfortable dog-friendly accommodation overlooking Loch Seil. This place is really special, on its own yet not too remote. Whether you seek peace, wildlife or activities, this family run business can provide your home from home, just 10 miles from Oban.

  • Castle Menzies Farm Holiday Cottages

    • 44 Properties with 4 star(s)
    • 11 Properties with 3 star(s)
    • Pets Welcome

    Castle Menzies Farm Holiday Cottages

    Perthshire, Dundee & Angus (2 miles from Aberfeldy)

    Sleeps up to 6

    Award winning, 3 & 4 Star comfortable self catering holiday cottages on family farm nearby Castle Menzies; Aberfeldy 2 miles. Central heating, open fires, own gardens. Walk to good rural restaurants nearby.

  • Dubh Loch Cottage

    • 11 Properties with 4 star(s)
    • Pets Welcome

    Dubh Loch Cottage

    Argyll, the Isles, Stirlingshire (8 miles from Drymen)

    Sleeps up to 6

    Dubh Loch Cottage is a stunning traditional self catering cottage built 1750 on east bank Loch Lomond. One acre garden and burn running through. Log fire and magnificent loch and mountain views. Sleeps 6 in 3 bedrooms.

  • Gask House Farm Cottages

    • 33 Properties with 4 star(s)
    • Pets Welcome

    Gask House Farm Cottages

    Highlands and Skye (15 minutes from Inverness)

    Sleeps up to 4

    Gask House Farm Holiday Cottages are situated in a beautiful rural setting in the Highlands of Scotland. A fifteen minute drive from Inverness city centre, Gask House Farm is a converted steading with three high quality, pet friendly self catering cottages for hire.

Is it too Early to Mention the ‘C’ Word?

Monday 25th Sep 2017

The leaves have only just started to turn red, but Christmas and Hogmanay bookings are coming in thick and fast like the first flurry of snow flakes in winter! Personally, I love the seasonality of Scotland. Autumn is a transitional season and it can be fickle – some years it can be warm and sunny; […]

A Bridge Too Far?

Monday 11th Sep 2017

The trio of spectacular bridges over the Firth of Forth has quickly become one of Scotand’s most iconic images. The new Queensferry Crossing is the tallest bridge in the UK and its elegant, delicate structure of woven interlocking wires took many years to build, but was completed on time and on budget this month. Traffic […]

A Highland Gathering…

Thursday 24th Aug 2017

Let the Games Begin! If you’ve been on holiday in Scotland this summer you may have already enjoyed the spectacle of a Highland Games. The season runs from May to September and by August it’s in full swing with some of the most prestigious Gatherings happening this week in Argyll. Today it’s the turn of […]

Wheelie Good Routes for Touring Scotland!

Friday 4th Aug 2017

Last month we looked at Scotland’s Great Trails – walking routes throughout the nation which are perfect for hikers and ramblers. We mentioned then that the scenery of this wild land is equally accessible viewed through the window of a moving car so what are you waiting for! North Coast 500 – Scotland’s Route 66! […]

Scotland’s Great Trails – Put Your Best Foot Forward!

Friday 7th Jul 2017

If you’ve an inclination to explore Scotland’s amazing countryside and you’re reasonably fit and healthy then why not try one of Scotland’s Great Trails? Some of these waymarked long-distance routes are better known than others – notably the West Highland Way: this 154Km (96miles) route starts at Milngavie passes through Mugdock Country Park, hugs the […]

The Paws for a Break Pet-Friendly Award 2016/17 – The Winner!

Tuesday 16th May 2017

The Paws for a Break Pet-Friendly Award winner has been announced! The judges ruled, by a whisker, that Mains of Taymouth in Perthshire is the worthy victor. So a big congratulatory tail-wagging goes to Pauline and her team at Mains of Taymouth. We must give a paw to the five other finalists, Ardtornish Estate, Cologin, […]

Guest Blog: The Enjoyable Rut

Tuesday 16th May 2017

The Enjoyable Rut is a travel blog aiming to inspire you to get outside and make the most out of life. It aims to show you the beauty and wonder in the every day, that the edge of the map isn’t as far as you can go and that the ends of the world aren’t limits at […]

Historic Attractions in the Highlands

Wednesday 19th Apr 2017

As it’s the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, we asked Mike Spencer-Nairn, owner of Eagle Brae, for some more recommendations on delving into the past in the Highlands – here are some of his suggestions: Corrimony Chambered Cairn If you love exploring a stone circle site (or you are an Outlander fan!) Corrimony Burial Cairn lies near […]

A Family Holiday at Eagle Brae

Tuesday 28th Feb 2017

Guest post by Emma Gibb There is nothing quite like rugged Scottish scenery to quieten a busy mind.  During a particularly busy week, when my mind was whirring with to-do lists, we headed to Eagle Brae – a luxury self-catering eco resort nestled between Glen Affric and Glen Strathfarrar.  It is impossible to do anything other than switch off […]