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3 Minutes Less Of 2020: Iconic Scottish Clock That Always Runs Fast Won't Be Set Back

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

One of the world's most famous clocks is almost always out of step with the time. The enormous Gothic clock at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland, looms over nearby Waverley railway station. And for 118 years, the clock has run three minutes fast to help, you know, people catch their trains on time.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Well, with one exception. Every year on December 31, the clock is set back those three minutes to perfectly match Greenwich Mean Time and to help ring in the new year on time.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Five, four, three, two, one - Happy New Year.

KELLY: Ah, yes, Edinburgh is also home to one of the biggest New Year's celebrations in the world, although the pandemic has made this year's party mostly virtual.

CHANG: With so many plans changed and with 2020 being so generally awful, this week Balmoral Hotel announced on Facebook the following. For the first time in history, our iconic clock will remain on at Balmoral Standard Time - BST - on New Year's Eve, as we would gladly have three minutes less of 2020 and be the first to bring in 2021.

KELLY: Three minutes less of 2020 - yes, please. But wherever you're ringing in the new year, Happy Hogmanay.

(SOUNDBITE OF AGAINST ME! SONG, "HOLY S***") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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