The building of the 2012 Up-Helly-A’ galley – a unique insight

It happens every year behind very firmly closed doors. Today users of The Shetland Times website can view the building of the 2012 galley Per Ardua, courtesy of photographer Chris Brown who has created a time-lapse video.

Chris set up a small camera in the Galley Shed back in October when construction began and set it to take shots of up to 100 every night work was taking place, with time intervals of one to two minutes.

The result, made up of more than 3,500 images, is an impressive fast-forward style chronicle of the building of the galley plus the creation of the head and tail by Guizer Jarl David Nicolson – the 12th and final time he has done the job – and the making of the torches.

Chris said he had had a lot of fun making the video. “This lot are crazy,” he said. “The galley and torch boys have been great and the Jarl’s Squad incredibly patient.”

Per Ardua derives from the motto of the Royal Air Force, which Guizer Jarl David Nicolson served in, Per ardua ad astra, Through adversity to the stars or Through struggle to the stars. Viewers will note the temporary appearance of green and white stripes, representing a football team not supported by the jarl.


Add Your Comment
  • Fetlar Primary School

    • January 31st, 2012 10:17

    This was a fantastic video showing the galley being built. We really enjoyed it!
    we are watching the events in Lerwick via the webcam.

  • Frances Hurley

    • January 31st, 2012 21:08

    Wonderful YouTube video showing great craftmanship in the building of the 2012 Galley. What a terrible shame that it all went up in flames!! – as just seen thanks to those who provided the Webcam coverage live from Lerwick. “Happy Up Helly Aa 2012” from Fetlar.

  • Bridget Jones

    • February 1st, 2012 15:35

    This sounds mad, but I got all nostalgic watching these, and I’ve only been to Shetland once!
    My Dad worked in Lerwick for about a year in 1976, and of course joined in with Up-Helly-A’, complaining in a letter to me (at boarding school) that he had to leave a very good party in full swing to get some breakfast before going to work.
    I long to come back, and bring my husband to show him my magic isles. Wishing all in Shetland a great time, and all success.


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