Thousands flock to the flame of another Scots new year

Ancient ritual carried out in Burghead on Monday (pic: David Robertson)
Ancient ritual carried out in Burghead on Monday (pic: David Robertson)

THOUSANDS FLOCKED TO Burghead last night as the Moray village community welcomed the New Year in their own unique style.

The crowds that gather in the narrow streets of the town appear to grow each year as the ancient ritual flame was carried from door to door, and 2016 was no exception with around 4000 packing into the village.

Clavie King Dan Ralph supervised as the flame was lit on Granary Street at 6pm before his crew carried the 100kg fiery barrel through the village, stopping along the way to deliver burning embers to selected homes.

One special halt this year was the home of Keith Douglas, the 56-year-old who had to have both legs amputated last year after suffering from complications from the rare and terminal condition he suffers.

Mr Douglas, for whom local villagers have helped raise almost £4000 to adjust a camper van that allows him to remain mobile, said it was “fantastic” how the Clavie brings the village together. The tradition of delivering burning staves from the Clavie is thought to ward off evil spirits for the year ahead and is highly prized by those villagers visited.

Hundreds followed the procession through the town before the procession ended as always on Doorie Hill.

Burning the Clavie is believed to date back to 400AD and is considered to be the equivalent of ancient Scots Hogmanay. It falls each year on January 11 – the day the new year would start before the Gregorian calendar was introduced to 18th century Britain.

More images from the Clavie can be found on insideMoray’s Facebook page.