Embers fly in Northmavine Up-Helly-A’

Howling winds whistled and whipped past parked cars as folk waited in the darkness, in anticipation.

As proud Guizer Jarl Kenny Williamson and his boar skin-clad vikings led the galley to the water, a bluster of burning embers followed in their wake.

Coat hoods were pulled a little tighter but the challenging weather only added to the spectacle. With boiler suits and cheers aplenty, the galley Haja filled with flames.

But with some torches burning a little dimly after the battering from the wind, it took a while for the fire to take hold. Axe aloft, Kenny roared at the vessel, urging Haja to burn.

He said there was nothing that could be done about the weather and was determined to carry on the celebrations. And that he did as the coaches arrived and cars filled up with windswept revellers.

The Sullom Hall kicked off proceedings with a Boston Two Step and the more adventurous Eightsome Reel and Strip the Willow followed.

From singing cowboys to a dancing giant, and various guises of the Guizer Jarl – there was plenty of variety and side-splitting humour – with amazing props, costumes, jokes and storytelling.

#kennyslostit was one of the highlights of the night – cleverly telling the tale of Kenny’s lost galley complete with zebra barge, a giant, mirrie dancers and a Good Evening Shetland news bulletin.

Plenty of punters took their chance to dance with a viking come the appearance of the Jarl’s Squad – and they were in fine voice – much to the delight of those in the hall.

Benches were pulled out onto the dance floor as the vikings enjoyed grub with the party-goers and trays of food circulated for a much-needed energy boost following all the spinning and stomping.

The soup and bannocks were top-notch, and after a quick breather it was back to the dancing.

More in next week’s Shetland Times.



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