It was a special day in the South Mainland on Friday with its first ever Up-Helly-A’ festival proving a roaring success.
Jarl David Smith had 16 men and boys in his squad but also six women and girls, including his wife Janet, and the invasion of female warriors attracted much favourable comment during the day’s grand tour of venues from Sumburgh to Lerwick.
The graceful lines of the beautifully crafted galley Skidbladnir were much admired and the squad towed its Heart of Midlothian-inspired white and maroon warship wherever it went.
The day started at 7am with the erection of the Bill outside Bigton Stores, watched by a small band of early risers, followed by breakfast at the hall for the Jarl’s squad. The Jarl and his family live just up the road at Maywick.
The next port of call was all the way to Lerwick to the Adult Special Needs department at the Anderson High School where the Jarl teaches.
In a busy schedule there were also visits to the schools at Sound – where many children from Gulberwick and Quarff are taught – and Cunningsburgh, Sandwick and Dunrossness.
The lighting of the torches was at 7.30pm followed by the procession to the burning site at St Ninian’s Isle.
The galley, which was designed as a real floating ship, was burnt at sea before the 377 guizers in the 22 squads dispersed to start their tour of the five halls.