New Year in the Highlands

Scotland 2008 Nicola here, wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!

A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to see the New Year in at a small cottage in the Scottish Highlands. This photo was taken on a walk we did on a beautiful if cold winter's day, halfway up the mountain Beinn Eighe. You can just see me and Monty on the promontory. I'm brewing a cup of tea!

New Year's Eve can be a very special time and never more so than in Scotland where Hogmanay in Edinburgh involves torchlit processions, street parties, concerts, fireworks above the castle and many more exciting events. Our own celebration was a little bit more low key, involving a glass of malt whisky and the "first footing." To ensure good luck in the year ahead, the first foot in the house after midnight should be male and dark-haired (handsome is a bonus!) This tradition is believed to be a throwback to when fair-haired Viking warriors might come knocking at your door bringing trouble rather than good cheer. The First Footer also has to bring with him coal, shortbread, salt, a black bun and whisky. We managed to rustle up all of these except for the black bun, for which we substituted an oat cake!

What would you like your "first footer" to bring you this New Year?

 

65 thoughts on “New Year in the Highlands”

  1. Wonderful photo, Nicola. It’s certainly atmospheric: Bonnie Prince Charlie and his gallant Highlanders could hove into sight at any moment!
    I remember one Christmas with my parents who lived on the shores of Loch Mhor in Invernesshire. The loch was frozen solid – you could see geese skidding on it – but that day the sun was out.
    Suddenly, there was a tremendous bang. A crack appeared and shot from one end of the loch to the other like a bullet from a gun. All the birds flew up into the air with a clatter of wings. It was certainly dramatic!
    As for the first footer… I’d like him to bring something unexpected but beneficial into my life. I think, especially as one gets older, it’s good to be kept on one’s toes!
    I wish everyone all the best in 2011

    Reply
  2. Wonderful photo, Nicola. It’s certainly atmospheric: Bonnie Prince Charlie and his gallant Highlanders could hove into sight at any moment!
    I remember one Christmas with my parents who lived on the shores of Loch Mhor in Invernesshire. The loch was frozen solid – you could see geese skidding on it – but that day the sun was out.
    Suddenly, there was a tremendous bang. A crack appeared and shot from one end of the loch to the other like a bullet from a gun. All the birds flew up into the air with a clatter of wings. It was certainly dramatic!
    As for the first footer… I’d like him to bring something unexpected but beneficial into my life. I think, especially as one gets older, it’s good to be kept on one’s toes!
    I wish everyone all the best in 2011

    Reply
  3. Wonderful photo, Nicola. It’s certainly atmospheric: Bonnie Prince Charlie and his gallant Highlanders could hove into sight at any moment!
    I remember one Christmas with my parents who lived on the shores of Loch Mhor in Invernesshire. The loch was frozen solid – you could see geese skidding on it – but that day the sun was out.
    Suddenly, there was a tremendous bang. A crack appeared and shot from one end of the loch to the other like a bullet from a gun. All the birds flew up into the air with a clatter of wings. It was certainly dramatic!
    As for the first footer… I’d like him to bring something unexpected but beneficial into my life. I think, especially as one gets older, it’s good to be kept on one’s toes!
    I wish everyone all the best in 2011

    Reply
  4. Wonderful photo, Nicola. It’s certainly atmospheric: Bonnie Prince Charlie and his gallant Highlanders could hove into sight at any moment!
    I remember one Christmas with my parents who lived on the shores of Loch Mhor in Invernesshire. The loch was frozen solid – you could see geese skidding on it – but that day the sun was out.
    Suddenly, there was a tremendous bang. A crack appeared and shot from one end of the loch to the other like a bullet from a gun. All the birds flew up into the air with a clatter of wings. It was certainly dramatic!
    As for the first footer… I’d like him to bring something unexpected but beneficial into my life. I think, especially as one gets older, it’s good to be kept on one’s toes!
    I wish everyone all the best in 2011

    Reply
  5. Wonderful photo, Nicola. It’s certainly atmospheric: Bonnie Prince Charlie and his gallant Highlanders could hove into sight at any moment!
    I remember one Christmas with my parents who lived on the shores of Loch Mhor in Invernesshire. The loch was frozen solid – you could see geese skidding on it – but that day the sun was out.
    Suddenly, there was a tremendous bang. A crack appeared and shot from one end of the loch to the other like a bullet from a gun. All the birds flew up into the air with a clatter of wings. It was certainly dramatic!
    As for the first footer… I’d like him to bring something unexpected but beneficial into my life. I think, especially as one gets older, it’s good to be kept on one’s toes!
    I wish everyone all the best in 2011

    Reply
  6. Goodness, how dramatic, Elizabeth! It does rather emphasise the advice about not venturing on to frozen lakes (or lochs) because you never know how strong the ice is. In the years I’ve experienced New Year in Scotland it has not been very snowy at all though I imagine this year will be different. I even have a photo of me taking a New Year dip in Loch Coulin but I wasn’t going to post that up because it is less than flattering!
    I like the idea of the first footer bringing something unexpected but beneficial. I have had similar thoughts about 2011. I would like to be surprised – in a nice way!

    Reply
  7. Goodness, how dramatic, Elizabeth! It does rather emphasise the advice about not venturing on to frozen lakes (or lochs) because you never know how strong the ice is. In the years I’ve experienced New Year in Scotland it has not been very snowy at all though I imagine this year will be different. I even have a photo of me taking a New Year dip in Loch Coulin but I wasn’t going to post that up because it is less than flattering!
    I like the idea of the first footer bringing something unexpected but beneficial. I have had similar thoughts about 2011. I would like to be surprised – in a nice way!

    Reply
  8. Goodness, how dramatic, Elizabeth! It does rather emphasise the advice about not venturing on to frozen lakes (or lochs) because you never know how strong the ice is. In the years I’ve experienced New Year in Scotland it has not been very snowy at all though I imagine this year will be different. I even have a photo of me taking a New Year dip in Loch Coulin but I wasn’t going to post that up because it is less than flattering!
    I like the idea of the first footer bringing something unexpected but beneficial. I have had similar thoughts about 2011. I would like to be surprised – in a nice way!

    Reply
  9. Goodness, how dramatic, Elizabeth! It does rather emphasise the advice about not venturing on to frozen lakes (or lochs) because you never know how strong the ice is. In the years I’ve experienced New Year in Scotland it has not been very snowy at all though I imagine this year will be different. I even have a photo of me taking a New Year dip in Loch Coulin but I wasn’t going to post that up because it is less than flattering!
    I like the idea of the first footer bringing something unexpected but beneficial. I have had similar thoughts about 2011. I would like to be surprised – in a nice way!

    Reply
  10. Goodness, how dramatic, Elizabeth! It does rather emphasise the advice about not venturing on to frozen lakes (or lochs) because you never know how strong the ice is. In the years I’ve experienced New Year in Scotland it has not been very snowy at all though I imagine this year will be different. I even have a photo of me taking a New Year dip in Loch Coulin but I wasn’t going to post that up because it is less than flattering!
    I like the idea of the first footer bringing something unexpected but beneficial. I have had similar thoughts about 2011. I would like to be surprised – in a nice way!

    Reply
  11. Nicola
    What a beuatiful photo we had a quiet new year at home watching the fireworks on Sydney Harbour on the TV and babysitting the dog who is scared of fireworks and I am sure most of the neighbourhood were letting them off.
    I would like the first footer to bring a smile to bring joy for the rest of the year LOL
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  12. Nicola
    What a beuatiful photo we had a quiet new year at home watching the fireworks on Sydney Harbour on the TV and babysitting the dog who is scared of fireworks and I am sure most of the neighbourhood were letting them off.
    I would like the first footer to bring a smile to bring joy for the rest of the year LOL
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  13. Nicola
    What a beuatiful photo we had a quiet new year at home watching the fireworks on Sydney Harbour on the TV and babysitting the dog who is scared of fireworks and I am sure most of the neighbourhood were letting them off.
    I would like the first footer to bring a smile to bring joy for the rest of the year LOL
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  14. Nicola
    What a beuatiful photo we had a quiet new year at home watching the fireworks on Sydney Harbour on the TV and babysitting the dog who is scared of fireworks and I am sure most of the neighbourhood were letting them off.
    I would like the first footer to bring a smile to bring joy for the rest of the year LOL
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  15. Nicola
    What a beuatiful photo we had a quiet new year at home watching the fireworks on Sydney Harbour on the TV and babysitting the dog who is scared of fireworks and I am sure most of the neighbourhood were letting them off.
    I would like the first footer to bring a smile to bring joy for the rest of the year LOL
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  16. Incredible photo, Nicola! Was Monty your first footer. After all, he is handsome and dark-haired!
    I think I would like for my first footer (Richard Armitage, please) to bring me the dedication to spend even more time writing and excellent health. I am still recovering from a nasty bout with pneumonia and I don’t ever want to be this sick again !

    Reply
  17. Incredible photo, Nicola! Was Monty your first footer. After all, he is handsome and dark-haired!
    I think I would like for my first footer (Richard Armitage, please) to bring me the dedication to spend even more time writing and excellent health. I am still recovering from a nasty bout with pneumonia and I don’t ever want to be this sick again !

    Reply
  18. Incredible photo, Nicola! Was Monty your first footer. After all, he is handsome and dark-haired!
    I think I would like for my first footer (Richard Armitage, please) to bring me the dedication to spend even more time writing and excellent health. I am still recovering from a nasty bout with pneumonia and I don’t ever want to be this sick again !

    Reply
  19. Incredible photo, Nicola! Was Monty your first footer. After all, he is handsome and dark-haired!
    I think I would like for my first footer (Richard Armitage, please) to bring me the dedication to spend even more time writing and excellent health. I am still recovering from a nasty bout with pneumonia and I don’t ever want to be this sick again !

    Reply
  20. Incredible photo, Nicola! Was Monty your first footer. After all, he is handsome and dark-haired!
    I think I would like for my first footer (Richard Armitage, please) to bring me the dedication to spend even more time writing and excellent health. I am still recovering from a nasty bout with pneumonia and I don’t ever want to be this sick again !

    Reply
  21. Hi Helen, that is a lovely wish for the first footer! At least in the Highlands we weren’t troubled by fireworks disturbing the dog. This year we sat up with him as you did with yours. He’s a gun dog so he isn’t afraid of loud bangs but he does get confused because he thinks he should be retrieving things!

    Reply
  22. Hi Helen, that is a lovely wish for the first footer! At least in the Highlands we weren’t troubled by fireworks disturbing the dog. This year we sat up with him as you did with yours. He’s a gun dog so he isn’t afraid of loud bangs but he does get confused because he thinks he should be retrieving things!

    Reply
  23. Hi Helen, that is a lovely wish for the first footer! At least in the Highlands we weren’t troubled by fireworks disturbing the dog. This year we sat up with him as you did with yours. He’s a gun dog so he isn’t afraid of loud bangs but he does get confused because he thinks he should be retrieving things!

    Reply
  24. Hi Helen, that is a lovely wish for the first footer! At least in the Highlands we weren’t troubled by fireworks disturbing the dog. This year we sat up with him as you did with yours. He’s a gun dog so he isn’t afraid of loud bangs but he does get confused because he thinks he should be retrieving things!

    Reply
  25. Hi Helen, that is a lovely wish for the first footer! At least in the Highlands we weren’t troubled by fireworks disturbing the dog. This year we sat up with him as you did with yours. He’s a gun dog so he isn’t afraid of loud bangs but he does get confused because he thinks he should be retrieving things!

    Reply
  26. LOL, Andrea and Louisa! It would certainly get the year off to a good start to find Johnny Depp or Richard Armitage knocking on the door – even if all he was bringing was a piece of coal!
    Hugs on the pneumonia, Louisa. How absolutely horrid for you. My dh had it a few years ago and it was awful. I hope you are soon feeling much better.
    Theo, I am so pleased you like the photo. The corrie behind Beinn Eighe is a stunningly beautiful place. Chilly for a cup of tea on a snowy day though!

    Reply
  27. LOL, Andrea and Louisa! It would certainly get the year off to a good start to find Johnny Depp or Richard Armitage knocking on the door – even if all he was bringing was a piece of coal!
    Hugs on the pneumonia, Louisa. How absolutely horrid for you. My dh had it a few years ago and it was awful. I hope you are soon feeling much better.
    Theo, I am so pleased you like the photo. The corrie behind Beinn Eighe is a stunningly beautiful place. Chilly for a cup of tea on a snowy day though!

    Reply
  28. LOL, Andrea and Louisa! It would certainly get the year off to a good start to find Johnny Depp or Richard Armitage knocking on the door – even if all he was bringing was a piece of coal!
    Hugs on the pneumonia, Louisa. How absolutely horrid for you. My dh had it a few years ago and it was awful. I hope you are soon feeling much better.
    Theo, I am so pleased you like the photo. The corrie behind Beinn Eighe is a stunningly beautiful place. Chilly for a cup of tea on a snowy day though!

    Reply
  29. LOL, Andrea and Louisa! It would certainly get the year off to a good start to find Johnny Depp or Richard Armitage knocking on the door – even if all he was bringing was a piece of coal!
    Hugs on the pneumonia, Louisa. How absolutely horrid for you. My dh had it a few years ago and it was awful. I hope you are soon feeling much better.
    Theo, I am so pleased you like the photo. The corrie behind Beinn Eighe is a stunningly beautiful place. Chilly for a cup of tea on a snowy day though!

    Reply
  30. LOL, Andrea and Louisa! It would certainly get the year off to a good start to find Johnny Depp or Richard Armitage knocking on the door – even if all he was bringing was a piece of coal!
    Hugs on the pneumonia, Louisa. How absolutely horrid for you. My dh had it a few years ago and it was awful. I hope you are soon feeling much better.
    Theo, I am so pleased you like the photo. The corrie behind Beinn Eighe is a stunningly beautiful place. Chilly for a cup of tea on a snowy day though!

    Reply
  31. Lovely post — I’m so envious — would love to have had Hogmanay in Scotland.
    I’ll go for a Scots first footer — David Tennant, please, bringing a nice bottle of something.

    Reply
  32. Lovely post — I’m so envious — would love to have had Hogmanay in Scotland.
    I’ll go for a Scots first footer — David Tennant, please, bringing a nice bottle of something.

    Reply
  33. Lovely post — I’m so envious — would love to have had Hogmanay in Scotland.
    I’ll go for a Scots first footer — David Tennant, please, bringing a nice bottle of something.

    Reply
  34. Lovely post — I’m so envious — would love to have had Hogmanay in Scotland.
    I’ll go for a Scots first footer — David Tennant, please, bringing a nice bottle of something.

    Reply
  35. Lovely post — I’m so envious — would love to have had Hogmanay in Scotland.
    I’ll go for a Scots first footer — David Tennant, please, bringing a nice bottle of something.

    Reply

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