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Thousands take to streets to give 2014 a warm welcome

THOUSANDS of revellers took advantage of mild temperatures in Scotland to bring in the New Year with a bang.

More than 80,000 descended on the Hogmanay capital, Edinburgh, for a massive welcome to 2014 at its traditional street party in Princes Street.

The Pet Shop Boys performed their classics, headlining a concert in Princes Street Gardens before a fireworks spectacular at the castle lit up the sky.

Earlier, Stirling, Inverness and Edinburgh got revellers in the mood with a simultaneous, choreographed fireworks and light display at exactly 20.14. Calton Hill in Edinburgh, Inverness Castle and the Wallace Monument in Stirling were lit up by the special presentation planned to welcome in the Year of Homecoming Scotland.

Edinburgh's Princes Street was filled with festive lights and the sound of pounding music as people sang and danced in the streets.

For those who could not indulge in the Concert in the Gardens stage featuring Pet Shop Boys, 1975 and Nina Nesbitt, there was a street party with music on three stages from homegrown bands acts Django Django and Chvrches.

Teacher Jennifer Wallace, 25, from Aberdeen, travelled to the capital to celebrate the arrival of 2014 with her best friends. She said: "This is Edinburgh. Where else could you wish to be on New Year's Eve?

"We're going to enjoy the music, all the people you bump into, celebrate the end of 2013 and say hello to 2014."

It is believed that during the Hogmanay and New Year period more than 150,000 people travelled to celebrate in Edinburgh. People arrived from more than 60 countries, including Australia, Brazil, China, Japan, New Zealand and the USA.

Qui Yuanchao, 24, from Beijing said he had travelled for the festivities after a friends recommended the celebrations.

He said: "I am here for two weeks but I came specially for New Year. I'm so excited to be here, it's beautiful and everything feels great.

"One of my friends recommended Edinburgh for New Year so I decided to come over.

"He said it was magical and I believe him since I've been here."

Jamie Burns, 22, and girlfriend Chloe Raphael, 19, were reunited for the celebrations after they met in the US over the summer.

Ms Raphael, from Utah, flew over to spend New Year with Mr Burns, who had organised the trip to Edinburgh. She said: "I'm so excited for it all. The atmosphere is amazing and the fireworks were great."

Celebrities in the crowd included Australian Formula One driver Mark Webber, who tweeted a picture of himself with fans.

Simple Minds headlined the Open Air in the Square event in Stonehaven, watched by 5200 revellers. In Stirling, organisers hailed a "rocking success" as 5000 people indulged in an outdoor party at the Castle Esplanade, headlined by Deacon Blue.

Glasgow, which hosts this year's Commonwealth Games, hosted a free event with with bagpipers, drummers and dancers.

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