Hundreds lined the streets of Inverness tonight as a torchlight procession along Stephens Brae marked the beginning of the city’s annual Christmas light switch-on event.
Young children and families were full of festive cheer as the city was illuminated in the most spectacular colours.
Dozens gathered at Crown Primary School near to the city centre before departing with torches in hand, led by members of the City of Inverness senior and youth pipe bands, before pausing at set points along High Street as each overhead decoration was beamed full of colour, much to the excitement of the gathered crowds.
Temporary road closures were put in place to allow for the safe passing of the procession.
Despite an appearance by The Grinch, spirits were high among those gathered with seven-year-old Jack Allan of Dalneigh Primary School saying he “really liked the lights on the Town House” as well as the music.
Undertaking the honour of lighting up the Highland capital was Provost of Inverness Helen Carmichael and broadcaster Nicola McAlley.
Miss McAlley said: “This is the seventh year that I have been privileged to host the lights switch on and it never loses any of its magic.
“It’s great to see people of all ages turn up to enjoy the occasion and just lovely to see the wonder on the faces of little ones when they spot Santa and watch the twinkling lights come to life.
“To me, it marks the start of the Christmas period and it’s lovely to be involved.”
The procession concluded outside the Inverness Town House, where this year’s colour scheme for the festive period was unveiled.
Provost of Inverness Helen Carmichael added: “It’s just lovely to see the children’s faces light up.
“It’s so good to see so many gather and we managed to get a good evening where it was not too frosty and not too slippy underfoot.
“I would hope at this time of year that events like this unites people. The rest of the world seems to be arguing with each other so it’s great to see mums, dads, grannies and grandpas come out to enjoy the switch on.
“It’s always a great event in the calendar and may it continue for many years to come.”
Funds generated through the sale of torches are earmarked to assist Highland Council in the funding of the Inverness Highland Games.
Indeed the city was awash with festive cheer as, earlier in the day, the Christmas grotto at the city’s Eastgate Shopping Centre was officially opened with Santa stopping by to greet the abundance of youngsters who eagerly awaited his arrival.