A VIKING puffin, Peter Pan and Tinkerbell and a coal cart filled with Irn-Bru are among 15 wicker sculptures which will lead Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Torchlight Procession on December 30.

Fourteen of the creations were chosen to represent Scotland’s regions by groups of local young people, and a 15th was chosen by young people from across Europe during a recent trip to Edinburgh.

When the fiery procession reaches Holyrood Park on the evening of December 30, torch bearers will form the outline of Scotland. The sculptures, currently on display along the Royal Mile until December 29, will then be placed at the centre and set ablaze to mark the end of Scotland’s Year Of Young People.

More than 300 young people took part in the project, talking about what makes them proud of their region and how to represent those ideas in a sculpture. Creative workshops were led by 14 #ScotArt Young Champions and young artists from Shetland to the Borders.

The sculptures were made with the assistance of lead artist Ariel Killick.

“Ariel’s speciality is traditional wicker-weaving,” says Zoe Nix, #Scotart Young Champion for Ayrshire. “She gave us a workshop on the basic techniques we should be using, and we each make a small sculpture that day, a wicker heart with a Saltire which we could decorate how we wanted.”

Nix facilitated the discussions with the group of around 17 young people from East, West and North Ayrshire on what symbol best represents their area.

Their chosen sculpture shows Tam O’Shanter riding his horse Meg over the Brig O’ Doon.

“Robert Burns has a strong connection with the area – he lived in all three local authority areas,” says Nix. “We also talked about Aisla Craig, where the curling stones come from, and of Kelburn Country Park and the castle with the bright artwork, which the young people said they could relate to.”

Another Ayrshire landmark discussed was the Barony A Frame, the structure at the head of what was the Barony Colliery near Auchinleck. Preserved in 2008, it is the last remaining example of its type anywhere in Britain.

“That was a very strong one because of the area’s history of industry, especially the mining industry,” says Nix. “At one time, a lot of Ayrshire looked like that.”

Nix, who studies community development at Glasgow University, has been heavily involved with the Year Of Young People programme.

“To be part of the closing event as a #Scotart Young Champion has just been phenomenal,” she says. “The year has been really positive in giving young people a voice about what matters to them and their regions, and getting to hear such a range of young people’s views and interpretations of things.”

She adds: “We’re all quite sad that this might be the last event and we’re all going to find ways to keep in contact.”

“Year of Young People 2018 has been an incredible celebration of our nation’s young people,” said Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop as the sculptures were revealed on Wednesday.

“Projects such as #ScotArt have created new and exciting opportunities for them to express their creativity, talents and views on a world-wide stage. It is only right that they continue to be the beating heart of Scotland as we move into 2019.”

December 30, Torchlit Procession, Old Town, Edinburgh, 7pm, ticket and torch £13. Tel: 0131 510 0395. edinburghshogmanay.com