Have a Hogmanay to remember in Argyll and The Isles. Across the region there are Hogmanay celebrations, and traditions galore, from ceilidhs to New Year Day dooks. Here’s our guide to celebrating Hogmanay – Argyll style!
Parties & ceilidhs
Across Argyll, pubs and hotels will be full of festive cheer on New Year’s Eve. You can expect a warm welcome and a great night. Many of the hotels, bars and village halls organise special events, gigs, dinners and ceilidhs that you’ll might need to book ahead.
Skipinnish is leading the Hogmanay party at the newly refurbished Queen’s Hall in Dunoon. It’s going to be an epic family night out, with live music from one of Scotland’s best bands. It’s a family event and all ages are welcome, although under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.
Oban is another town that’s renowned for its Hogmanay celebrations. The streets are always full of people, and adding to the special atmosphere local boats always bring in the New Year with a fanfare of fog horns. Most of the town centre pubs have a late licence and you’ll find plenty of live music. Crowds head to the pier or the esplanade for the bells at midnight. The biggest party will be the Hogmanay Ceilidh at The View. Bring in the bells with a lively night of traditional Scottish ceilidh music from local five-piece band Ceol an Aire.
You’ll find a number of hotels offer Hogmanay packages that include everything from a champagne reception to a five-course Hogmanay Dinner and Ceilidh to brunch on New Year’s Day. Portavadie and The Royal an Lochan in Tighnabruaich puts on a fabulous Hogmanay packages including fireworks.
Toast the bells
Traditionally people in Argyll villages and towns gather at midnight to ‘toast the bells’ together. Join locals and visitors alike to countdown to the New Year. In Tobermory on the island of Mull, everyone gathers at the clock tower at midnight for the annual fireworks display. In Bowmore on Islay locals gather at Bowmore Pier for a fireworks display at midnight. The bells of the famous Bowmore ‘Round Church’ ring in the New Year accompanied by a piper. Then there’s a ceilidh in Bowmore Hall which is free and open to all.
New Year’s Day Dooks
There’s no better way to start the New year than with an icy plunge into the water. New Year’s Day Dips (or ‘loony dooks’) are organised by a number of Argyll communities, often to raise money for local causes. In Campbeltown it’s the 6th annual Dip For Dosh, which involves an icy splash into the water at Dalintober Beach. Showers, hot drinks and a bite to eat are available for all participants afterwards. In Kames on Argyll’s Secret Coast you can take part in an en-masse dip into the Kyles of Bute. The Kames Hotel offers free soup afterwards to dippers. In Helensburgh the local RNLI organises a popular New Year's Day swim at Rhu Marina. The swim starts at noon and refreshments are provided.
Out on Mull, Ardalanish beach is the venue for the annual shinty match on New Year’s Day. It’s a very relaxed affair. After a while the players retire to Ardalanish farm for bread and home-made soup.
New Year’s Day Dances
In Argyll the celebrations tend to continue on New Year’s Day, with evening dances and ceilidhs taking place in village halls across the region. The New Year’s Day Shinty Dance in Tighnabruaich is a legendary event. On Mull there’s a New Year Dance in Dervaig Village Hall from 7pm till late.
Accommodation does book up over New Year in Argyll. You’ll need to check ferry timetables if you’re planning to travel on or around Hogmanay.