An invite: name the special Hamefarin galley

One of the highlights of the Hamefarin, and a memorable end to the celebrations, will be the Viking parade to be held immediately after the Final Fling concert. Four hundred guizers will parade in a torch-lit procession round Clickimin Loch before burning a specially-adapted galley on the water.

The spectacle, to take place on Saturday 26th June, will providing a fitting finale to two weeks of festivities.

With the Hamefarin fast approaching, the Up-Helly-A’ committee have been busy building a galley ready for the parade – and are now asking for a name.

The committee faced a huge challenge as the Hamefarin galley would have to be a completely different design to what is usually seen on the last Tuesday of January each year. For a start it would have to be watertight for its burning on the water. It proved to be a long and sometimes complicated extra task this year for the committee members and volunteers.

After long deliberation, the committee decided the best way forward was to adapt an old boat into the galley rather than start from scratch. It wasn’t until early this year a boat was sourced from Lerwick man Danny Arthur and transported to the Galley Shed for work to start. The committee members, aided by Eric Moncrieff and overseen by retired boat builders Jack Duncan and Robbie Tait, set to work by stripping down the boat ready for its transformation. How­ever, quite quickly it was agreed the boat would need more length in order to look the part. This meant only one thing – cutting the boat in two. A seven feet section was added to the middle and was a big improvement. Next the boat, now a galley, was turned upside down and repairs made to make it watertight. More recently, the front and back have been redesigned ready for the final touches.

The next stage will be for the head and tail to be made and fitted – the head being made by ex-Jarl Roy Leask and the tail by this year’s Guizer Jarl Rae Simpson. Decks will be fitted and, of course, a mast, shields and oars. The painters will then get to work and the galley will be ready for what is sure to be a special occasion.

Competition to name the galley

The Shetland Hamefarin 2010 organising committee and Up-Helly-A’ committee are running a competition to name the special Hamefarin galley. The winner of the competition will receive the nameplate from the galley, which is traditionally removed just before burning, and may also get the chance to throw the first burning torch into the galley.

To enter the competition email your details to or complete the entry form.

Closing date for entry is noon on Monday 7th June.


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