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Highland Lights rounding off a year of highlights!

7th January 2008

Highland Lights ~ Solais na Gaidhealtachd, the climax to Highland 2007 in Inverness on Saturday 12 January 2008, promises to be a great night out for all the family.

Wrap up warm and take part in this fantastic extravaganza of music, fire and fireworks planned by Inverness to mark the close of Highland 2007, Scotland's year of Highland culture on An t-Seann Bliadhn' r - The Old New Year.

A magical, musical Torchlight Procession featuring pipes and drums, marching bands, street theatre and fire surprises will begin on Huntly Street, near the Ness Bridge at 7pm. From the old town, the procession will wind its way along the river towards the Kessock Bridge for a spectacular firework finale.

Created by Groupe F, regarded by many as the world's leading fireworks company, this breathtaking display, choreographed to music to be broadcast on MFR, will be the first ever pyrotechnic show to take place from the Kessock Bridge. The fireworks will commence at 8.30pm and will be visible from across the city and beyond.

The torchlight procession finishes at the official viewing area on the Longman Drive, by the shore. Here you can enjoy music and entertainment before the firework display. People who are unable to take part in the procession can gather here to join in the fun. Parking is available at Inverness Caledonian Thistle football ground for a small fee.

During the Torchlight procession you can carry a flaming torch for charity. The charities supported by the sale of torches will be Friends of Arms (The MS Therapy Centre), Barnardo's and Highland Hospice. The wax-based torches can be bought from market stalls in the High Street and Huntly Street from 4.30pm on the 12 January for a minimum donation of 5.

Highland Lights is a free, outdoor family event, suitable for all ages - please dress appropriately for the location and weather conditions.

Highland Lights is the final event in the first ever Inverness Winter Festival programme, taking place from 22 November 2007 to 12 January 2008.

Fiona Hampton, director of Highland 2007, said: "Make sure you keep your diary free for Highland Lights on 12 January, it will be a brilliant event for all ages!

"There are lots of great vantage points to view the spectacular fireworks display, so even if the weather is not on our side you'll be able to see the show from right around the Beauly Firth.

"Highland 2007 started off in style with the spectacular Lifescan Monster Street Party and we're delighted Inverness has chosen to celebrate the end of Highland 2007 with such an exciting event. The fireworks promise to be one of the most impressive displays in the UK during 2008 and you can see it right here in the Highlands."

Pete Irvine from Unique Events, who are producing Highland Lights, added: "We're deeply chuffed that Groupe F have agreed to fire up the Kessock Bridge. Unquestionably the world's foremost pyrotechnics company, they are best known for their televisual openings of the Olympic Games and the World Cup but are also famed for their work on the world's most notable bridges and waterfronts. Conveniently for us, they are in the UK for London's New Year celebrations (the London Eye) and were keen to come to the Highlands when the days are short and they can brighten the night to maximum effect.

"Groupe F are a collective of artists and technicians who live in national parkland in South-West France. Their work explores the relationship between landscape and architecture in a uniquely spectacular way. They bring to fireworks an aesthetic and a precision that no other company can match. January 12 2008 will be a night to remember, not just for the Highlands, but for all of Scotland."

Stephen Gow, chair of the Inverness Hotels Association, said: "We are delighted to support Highland Lights as part of Inverness' first ever Winter Festival. It's a great opportunity to showcase all that is on offer at this time of year and attract visitors to the Highlands and to Inverness city as a great short break winter destination. Why not encourage family or friends from other parts of the country to book a weekend break in Inverness and make the most of the superb programme on offer?"

Check www.highland2007.com to get more details about Highland Lights as it
becomes available.

Road closures in Inverness on 12 January 2008 for Highland Lights:

2pm - 10pm: Huntly Street
5pm - 10pm: Longman Drive - 450 metre coast stretch between junction at Inverness Courier office and junction before the coastguard office.
6pm - 9pm: Waterloo Bridge
The procession route will close from 6pm - 9pm: Huntly Street, Gilbert Street, Waterloo Place, Portland Place, Shore Street, Cromwell Road, Longman Drive (viewing area).
Kessock Bridge: From 8am on Wednesday 9 January until Sunday 13 January at 4pm there will be reduced access for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.
Kessock Bridge 12 January: Full closure from 7.30pm - 9.30pm.
Traffic diversions will be put in place, please follow these routes.

Water closure on 12 January - there is no passage under the Kessock Bridge between 8pm - 9pm.

On site parking will be available at Inverness Caledonian Thistle football stadium. The car park will be open from 6pm at a cost of 3 per car. Access to the car park is from the A9 Kessock Roundabout. For further information contact Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club on 01463 222880 option 5.

Highland 2007 is working with businesses in Inverness who promise an exciting programme of music and dance in venues across the city to round off your evening. Hotels, bars, restaurants and other venues are hosting a wide range of entertainment - A 'What's On' guide for events and entertainment on 12 January will be available from 21 December 2007.

See http://www.highland2007.com/highland-lights.html for accommodation offers in Inverness around January 12 2008.

Partners for Highland Lights include:

MFR
Press & Journal
Scottish Provincial Press

Groupe F are an internationally renowned French fireworks company who specialise in large scale pyrotechnic shows. They combine colours, rhythm and dramatic design to create intense and memorable displays for events such as the Olympic Games in Athens, the Millennium in Paris and the inauguration of the Millennium Bridge in London. They have vast experience of firing in challenging locations world wide, including many bridges.

Highland 2007, the year Scotland celebrates Highland culture, aims to promote the Highlands as a great place to live and to visit through showcasing the unique and special nature of Highland culture past, present and future. The project is a partnership between three principal funding agencies: The Highland Council, the Scottish Government, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. The year long celebration of Highland culture in 2007 will incorporate an exciting range of major and community events, as well as capital projects and 'The Highland Promise' for young people. See www.highland2007.com for full details.

Highland 2007 commercial partners include:

LifeScan Scotland Ltd - Principal Partner
Tulloch Homes Ltd / BBC Scotland / Scottish Co-op - Major Partners
Royal Bank of Scotland/ Clydesdale Bank / Morrison Construction / Bidwells - Event Partners
Caledonian MacBrayne / First ScotRail / Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd / Macdonald Aviemore Highland Resort / Macrae & Dick - In-kind Partners
Fionnar Springs / NBH Holdings / PPD Ltd / EAE Distribution / Inver House Distillers - Suppliers

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