My wife, youngest daughter and I were among the 2,000 or so folk who turned out at Stornoway’s Hogmanay Street Party.

We really just went to check out the fireworks display and didn’t hang around for long after it. That said, the fireworks were very, very impressive and we were lucky enough to find ourselves in what amounted to a front row seat at centre stage. We found ourselves at the harbour gate, directly opposite the Woodlands Centre where the fireworks were launched from and so had a grandstand view of everything. It was so good that, although I don’t take many pictures these days, I wished I’d had a decent camera with me.

As we arrived at 9.30, the festivities had already kicked off but we heard one of the bands playing as we walked towards Bayhead and caught Fiona Martin’s set in full – apparently it was her first live show and, if that is the case, she nevertheless put in a very good performance. Perhaps we should have stayed to catch the act(s) appearing after the fireworks but by then the cold was taking it’s toll. And (perhaps more significantly) the cold beer and chilled wine in our fridge were calling us home.

The Stornoway Amenity Trust are to be given lots of gold stars and much kudos for putting on such a good show.

As for the alleged grumblings about the fireworks display not taking place at midnight because New Year’s Day was a Sunday and offence might be taken by some amongst the local faithful? Well, it would be a shame if this was true but I for one think its better to have these events during the earlier part of New Year’s Eve anyway. An earlier display makes it easier for families with young children to attend and for those who live further from Stornoway to come along. In effect you can have the best of both worlds – enjoy a cracking fireworks display then get back home in time for the traditional family gathering to welcome the New Year.

In the event that there is anyone out there whose religious convictions make them feel attendance at a Saturday night into Sunday morning event would risk their immortal soul or otherwise offend their almighty? Well an earlier start means they can see the show and be safely back home without spiritual risk.

After all, the more that can make it to these community events, the merrier they are for all.


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