If you’re planning to travel up to Scotland on a motorhome hire holiday during December/January time, then you’re in for a treat.
Whilst many accuse Scotland of going through a mini-ice-age over the winter, the temperatures are more than survivable if you bring a wealth of thick clothing. Not to mention your motorhome is equipped with adjustable heating and a warm bed which is perfect for cosying into during particularly brisk nights.
The cold winter is also complemented with stark and fantastical scenery that always blooms during the season. Whether you’re taking in gorgeous icy landscapes, mountains capped with snow or glaciers which are reminiscent of Iceland; there are countless things to see and do to make your holiday perfect.
One of these things, specifically, is known as Hogmanay. This acts as the halfway point of the winter, and it is arguably the biggest Scottish celebration of the year.
The Hogmanay Celebration Explained
What on earth is Hogmanay, we hear you ask? Well, Hogmanay takes place on December 31st, making it Scotland’s unique version of New Year’s Eve. It was thought to be brought over by the Vikings in the early 8th century, where Norsemen would celebrate the arrival of the winter solstice, which is otherwise known as the shortest day.
Traditionally, Hogmanay would be celebrated with a number of locals dressing up in hides of cattle and then running around their local village whilst being hit with sticks. Ouch. Thankfully that part doesn’t quite come into play today, but festivities are still recognised with the tossing of torches, the lighting of bonfires and, for those who still want to involve animal hides in some capacity, sticks that are wrapped with hides and ignited to produce smoke (the smoking stick is known as a Hogmanay, and it is meant to ward off evil spirits).
Other older customs are still continued within older communities of the Islands and Highlands. In the Outer Hebrides, for instance, young men form themselves into bands, equip themselves with a sack, and then move through the village, reciting Gaelic rhymes. Each band is then given fruit buns by each household as they move from doorstep to doorstep. Think of it as an older, more Scottish version of Trick Or Treat!
So How Can You Celebrate Hogmanay On Your Motorhome Holiday?
If you’re looking to hire a motorhome during this period of winter, then there are plenty of things you can do to celebrate it. Firstly, if you are parked up in a caravan or motorhome site, then it is likely that your fellow neighbours are going to be celebrating the holiday too. If you fancy staying close to the warmth of your motorhome, then ask around and see if there are any fireworks or bonfires being deployed in the local area.
Hogmanay is all about community and building stronger relationships. In this way, not only will you be able to celebrate Hogmanay close to home, but you can also get to know some fellow travellers during the ceremony, which is always a plus when you’re trying to find out where to go next.
Where Is The Best Place To Park Up?
If you’re looking for something a little bigger, however, then one of the most incredible Hogmanay ceremonies undoubtedly takes place in Stonehaven, which is just south of Aberdeen. With giant fireballs being swung around metal poles, flaming torches carried through the streets and an amazing firework display towards the end of the evening, you can’t really get any better than the Stonehaven Hogmanay street party to bring in the new year. This world-famous street event is a fun, unique and provides a jaw-dropping display which will linger in the memory forever.
The Queen Elizabeth Campervan and Motorhome park nearby is also perfect to pitch up your motorhome, meaning the celebrations are not too far from your warm and cosy bed.
Stonehaven is also a popular motorhome destination itself, which means you are getting the best out of both worlds. If you choose to celebrate Hogmanay with the street event, then you can always spend the next day exploring the city and taking a wonder down to the beautiful coastline. After this, you’ve also got Aberdeen, as well as the rest of the north coast. There are more than three hundred castles in the shires of Aberdeenshire alone, as well as the Royal Deeside, which makes it one of the most picturesque areas in all of Scotland.
Celebrate And Be Merry!
However you choose to spend Hogmanay on your motorhome holiday, it is sure to be an experience you’ll never forget. Get out there, explore, have fun, but just remember… wrap up warm!