I took this many years ago, in my pre-digital phase. It is of the fire festival in Burghead called The Burning of the Clavie, which is celebrated every year on the old Hogmanay (January 11).

The burning Clavie (a wooden barrel containing staves covered in tar, mounted on a stand) is carried through the town, and eventually to the Doorie Hill. On the hill, more tar is added so the whole construction, and parts of the hill, are ablaze.

I took the photo using black & white negative film. This was *very* unusual for me as, at the time, I typically used Kodachrome, and latterly Ektachrome slide film. For some inexplicable reason I didn't note which film I used. It may have been an Ilford HP5 ISO 400. There is quite a lot of grain in the photo, but that might be down to the photo settings. I like the grain, it gives the shot some character.

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There are many festive events marking the old Hogmanay in Scotland. When Scotland adopted the Gregorian calendar (previously using Julian) 12 days of the year were "lost". People went to bed on the evening of the 2nd of September, and next morning when they got up it was September 14th.

Some communities took a dim view of this change. So, they continued to celebrate the old Hogmanay which happens on January 11th (Gregorian), rather than December 31st.

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This photo is from earlier in the evening when the men of Burghead take turns to carry the burning Clavie through the streets. Not only is it an arduous task, due to the size & weight, it is also very dangerous. Regardless, they are all very keen to have their turn.

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