Flames of Burghead’s Clavie set to welcome another year

Doorie Hill will burn bright again on January 11 (pic: Joan Megson)

THOUSANDS ARE EXPECTED to turn out in Burghead next week as the community once again readies to see in the New Year – in the town’s own unique style.

The much anticipated ‘Burning of the Clavie’ will take place on the traditional January 11 date which has marked the real dawning of a new year for Burghead since the 1750’s.

Visitors far and wide are expected to witness the spectacle through the narrow streets of the fishing community as Clavie King Dan Ralph and his crew carry the burning fire to Doorie Hill, in a tradition that lends its roots to when the Julian calendar was reformed in Britain and the new Gregorian calendar introduced.

That meant the loss of 11 days – and sparked riots on the streets as people demanded those lost days were returned.

Uniquely Burghead chose to mark the ending of an old year and start of a new not once but twice – hence the fire festival tradition that has been maintained under the guidance of Mr Ralph since 1988.

Explaining that the Burning of the Clavie is one of the last remaining links with Burghead’s ancient past, Mr Ralph said that it was a tradition that people came from far and wide to witness because it remained true to its roots.

He said: “The Burning of the Clavie represents a tangible link with our ancient past and there is not a trace of anything modern about it – and it is that tradition that people enjoy.”