With Lerwick in the middle of pre Up-Helly-A’ excitement, police have issued a reminder to all road users of changes to the town’s driving routes to try to minimise traffic congestion during the annual festival.
From 11pm tonight “no waiting” cones will be in place outside the Royal British Legion, the Town Hall and along the route of the evening parades (including Union Street between St Olaf Street and King Harald Street).
Traffic will be subject to delay as the galley makes its way through the town tomorrow morning and motorists are strongly advised to avoid this area if possible and use alternative routes until around 11.30am.
The morning procession will begin at 8.30am when the Jarl’s Squad marches from Clickimin to the Toll Clock Shopping Centre, then on to the the Legion, before marching along the Esplanade and Commercial Street.
There will be a stop at the Market Cross to read the Bill, before the guizers finish up at the Bressay ferry terminal for photos, where they will meet the junior Jarl’s Squad who will also take part in a procession through the town.
The evening procession meanwhile will begin at 7.30pm. Around 5,000 people are expected to gather to see the 1,000 guizers before the galley is ceremonially burnt.
The junior procession begins at 5.30pm, meaning that from 4pm onwards a “one-way” system will be in operation on Burgh Road. The traffic flow will be from King Haakon Street to Scalloway Road.
During the evening parade the following roads will be subject to closure: Hillhead / Scalloway Road, St Olaf Street / Scalloway Road, King Harald Street / Scalloway Road, King Harald Street / Harbour Street, St Magnus Street / Harbour Street, Union Street / King Harald Street, Harbour Street / St Olaf Street, south end of Burgh Road and Market Street / Charlotte Street.
Disabled parking spaces are available within the grounds of Isleburgh Centre, or on King Erik Street, outside King Erik House. Access to this location is via Market Street. Vehicles must be in position by 6.45pm.
Officers supervising this area will pay particular attention to people obstructing the views of the vehicle occupants, as in previous years this has proved to be a major problem. They have requested that people viewing the procession show consideration to those viewing from vehicles in the disabled parking spaces.
As with every year, the town is busy with visitors who have travelled from afar to see the festival.
Among them are members of the Kirkwall Pipe Band, who have come to lend a hand to the local pipers as they have done for the past three years.
Weather-wise, while there will be some rainfall in the morning, by the afternoon it is expected to dry up, with sunny spells breaking through the cloud at some points.
In the evening the procession should see mostly dry and clear weather, though the fairly fresh northerly winds mean anyone watching should wrap up well.
Later on it will remain mild and cloudy and the majority of the night should be dry although there could be some showers.