28th September 2016
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Dreich start for Nesting & Girlsta Up-Helly-A’

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Guizer Jarl Mark Gifford and his family outside the South Nesting Hall. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Guizer Jarl Mark Gifford and his family outside the South Nesting Hall. Photo: Dave Donaldson

The galley Sneckan on view at South Nesting. Photo: Dave Donaldson

The galley Sneckan on view at South Nesting. Photo: Dave Donaldson

The Jarl's Squad members in fine voice at the South Nesting Hall. Photo: Dave Donaldson

The Jarl’s Squad members in fine voice at the South Nesting Hall. Photo: Dave Donaldson

A dull but mild morning greeted Guizer Jarl Mark Gifford and his squad as they mustered early today for the start of the Nesting & Girlsta Up-Helly-A’.

Portraying the Norwegian Viking character Flóki Vilgerðarson, said to be a great traveller who once visited Shetland, Mark and his Jarl’s Squad gathered at the South Nesting Hall at 8am.

They were treated to a hearty breakfast at the hall before a photo session with their galley Sneckan.

The 30 squad members and youngsters were dressed in grey kirtles, moorit sheepskins and rabbit-skin boots. They wore helmets with corbie wings and carried axes and wooden shields with a compass design.

During the day the squad visited primary schools, the local shop and families. They had lunch with senior citizens and guests at South Nesting Hall and headed to the Mid Brae Inn for tea.

The guizers mustered at 7pm before the light-up and procession to the burning site.

After that 15 squads, comprising around 220 guizers, made their way in turn around the North Nesting, South Nesting and Tingwall halls for a night of merry-making.

Jarl Mark Gifford and his son Alex stand proudly in the galley. Photo: Kevin Osborn

Jarl Mark Gifford and his son Alex stand proudly in the galley. Photo: Kevin Osborn

The procession heads towards the burning site. Photo: Andy Bradley

The procession heads towards the burning site. Photo: Andy Bradley

The galley Sneckan burns in Vassa Voe with the lights of Stendaal twinkling in the background. Photo: Andy Bradley

The galley Sneckan burns in Vassa Voe with the lights of Stendaal twinkling in the background. Photo: Andy Bradley

• Full report and more photographs in next week’s Shetland Times.

AboutJim Tait

Jim Tait is news editor at The Shetland Times.

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