Reliving Up-Helly-A’ moments

After 15 years of waiting, Lerwick Guizer Jarl Ivor Cluness has experienced a week he will never forget.

From the hundreds of burning torches encircling the galley, to the overwhelming receptions in the halls, Ivor said he has been “very humbled” by the whole experience.

On Friday he donned his impressive Viking attire again and visited nursery children at Islesburgh, Bell’s Brae and Sound to give them a chance to have a taste of Up-Helly-A’.

The youngsters, he said are the tradition’s future.

Sitting down for a quick cuppa at lunch, he spoke to The Shetland Times about the events of the past week, before preparing to be out with his squad again for the squad’s dance at Lerwick Town Hall.

Hop Night was the squad’s day he said, and their chance to “let their hair down” after all the hard work the day before.

“It was good to get everyone together and have a right good knees-up,” said Ivor.

“It was tremendous – it was a tremendous feeling and a tremendous atmosphere.”

But Ivor will be swapping his axe for a paintbrush on Monday, when he returns to work.

And before then there is still work to do – this includes cleaning up and making sure the squad suits are repaired for future outings.

After Up-Helly-A’ Ivor thanked all his squad for their involvement which was “a very emotional” experience.

“All the boys gelled so well together,” he said.

“I can’t believe how good it’s been.”

As Ivor reflects on the biggest week of his life, The Shetland Times has compiled a gallery and video montage of some of the best moments of this year’s festival.

• Free in today’s paper – 16-page  supplement with the best words and pictures of Up-Helly-A’ and a double-sided souvenir glossy poster.

About Adam Guest

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as a senior news reporter at The Barnsley Chronicle and as a freelance reporter for The Doncaster Free Press. Alongside news reporting I specialise in music and sports journalism. Pork pie lover.

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