Great balls of fire, Scotland

Fireball swinging at the Stonehaven New Year's celebrations © Chia Lynn

Take that, health and safety people! Another foolhardy British tradition – this time with huge fireballs, no protective gear and a whole lot of flammable kilts flapping in the breeze – survives to the present day, despite the very real threat of hospitalisations.

Every year on December 31 in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, 40-50 local ‘swingers’ take to the streets with these fiery balls, which they whirl around their heads as if ready to throw them into the crowd.

The tradition dates back into the mists of time, but nearly died out following the world wars.

The fireballs are each the size of a small barrel and made from a mix of paraffin-soaked fuels, from old jumpers to coal or wood, and held together with a mesh of chicken wire.

The parade begins on the stroke of midnight, and is led by a bagpipe player.

You can read more on the Stonehaven Fireballs website, or watch a little of the action here.

Written by - Photo by Chia Lynn

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