Edinburgh and The New Year Games

There was a time when all the people who travelled to Edinburgh to enjoy the celebrated partying for Hogmanay would find themselves waking up to a city that was closed on 1 January, and which had no interest in entertaining them any further.  That miserable experience is now in the past as the City throws some fun and imaginative events for everyone in the afternoon of New Year’s Day.

First off, you have to decide your allegiance.  Are you an Uppie (from anywhere that you have decided is north of somewhere else) or a Doonie (the opposite)?  Once you’re affiliated and adorned with the appropriate badge, you can participate and earn tokens which will be collected and weighed at the end of the day to determine the winners. I was an Uppie for the day.

The Minataur banishes someone

The events were very popular, and well attended, so we were lucky to get into the hunt for the Minataur in the maze in St Giles Cathedral early.  At first we thought we might be embarrassed to be the only adults there without children as camouflage, but no-one was bothered either way.

The object of the adventure was to creep up on the Minataur without him seeing you move, and try to take a ribbon off his coat.  If he saw you move he would banish you.

Meanwhile a group of singers provided an echoing and atmospheric soundscape for the adventure, interspersed with spine tingling computer generated sounds.

The event showed an incredible degree of imagination, as well as practical organisation, managing the huge line of people and giving everyone a shot at the trial.  The Minataur stared and turned, athletic and graceful, and commanding when he caught out those not quick enough to freeze as he twirled around.

As I approached I felt surprisingly apprehensive, but determined to reach for a ribbon.  Success was rewarded with additional tokens and a ribbon to wear as a badge of success.

We were proud to be able to contribute our rewards for the good of the Uppies team.

Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to avert annihilation of the Uppies by the Doonies……

It was great to see the City of Edinburgh embrace a festive atmosphere on a day which in the past has sometimes been one of the most miserable, and to do it in a way that was full of new fun ideas, rather than simply opening up the shops and bars.  It was free and very light hearted and hugely popular on the day.

We even participated in the humming competition in Grassmarket until we were distracted by the pipers demonstrating the benefits of the well placed sporran.

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