On Sunday Edinburgh’s Christmas lights were to be switched on by Sir Chris Hoy, with various other events planned for George Street, so we headed into town to watch.
I had read that up to 18,000 fellow spectators were expected but even forewarned we weren’t expecting quite so many people to be packed in to George Street (it was later estimated that were 26,000 people present). We struggled our way through a very busy St. Andrew Square (where the Christmas Market had opened on Friday) to the east end of George Street where we took up a position in front of one of the twelve stages dotted along the street.
We caught the end of one act and then the Edinburgh’s Got Soul choir came on stage and upped the tempo.
After the choir had finished their performance we started to make our way along George Street passing the iconic columns of The Dome (which has had its Christmas decorations up since the end of October).
The switching on of the Christmas lights has now apparently been christened as Light Night, and a big screen reminded us of this fact.
By now we had reached Hanover Street, and while it was incredibly busy the street was still passable as the crowds weren’t too densely packed up until this point.
After Hanover Street was another matter however. We soon reached a point where there was literally nowhere to go, the sheer volume of people making it impossible to move forwards or backwards. So we stopped, and this was as close as we got to the main stage in front of the Assembly Rooms.
We could hear Arlene Stuart from Forth One introduce Sir Chris Hoy, but we couldn’t seen much of what was happening on stage. But the moment he switched the lights on was marked by a fireworks display launched from the roof of the Assembly Rooms.
With Edinburgh’s Christmas lights now illuminated Sir Chris was ushered into Rox jewellers next to the Assembly Rooms, where we just managed to catch a glimpse of him from a distance.
Leaving George Street was a slow affair as the crowd of thousands moved its way back along the street.
We nipped down Hanover Street and along Rose Street where we managed to avoid the worst of the congestion.
We passed the back of The Dome where their traditional Christmas tree was looking spectacular as usual.
At the end of the Rose Street we could see the Star Flyer, part of the Christmas Market in St. Andrew Square, lit up against the night sky. We’re looking forward to having a go on this some time soon!
I didn’t actually take many photos of the Christmas lights or the Christmas Markets as there were just too many people around. Also I’ve vowed not to do so until December actually starts, as a one man protest against Christmas creeping into November!