Super night for Uyeasound festival

Guizer Jarl Richard Mouat in front of his burning galley. Photo: John Coutts
Guizer Jarl Richard Mouat in front of his burning galley. Photo: John Coutts

Friday 13th was certainly lucky for Guizer Jarl Richard Mouat and his squad at this year’s Uyeasound Up-Helly-A’.

Some forecasts of poor weather came to nothing, the day staying dry and the wind falling away to give perfect conditions for the evening procession along the picturesque shoreline at Uyeasound.

The Jarl’s Squad was composed of 19 guizers and the jarl’s three daughters Maisy, Kathryn and Freya (who the galley was named after) and his son Archie.

The squad cut a dash, dressed in black kirtles with silver trimmings, “one shade of grey” furry cloaks and boots. black and silver shields were shaped to resemble a darts flight with an impreesive stainless steel motif of Unst. All this was topped of with a  black and silver helmet with goose feathers, the jarl having a gold and a fine set of “corbie” wings.

After a hearty breakfast at the galley shed the squad and the galley, steered and towed by impressible festival veterans John Hunter and Brian Hunter, toured the isle.

They visited the Baltasound school, the Nordalea care centre and the Uyeasound hall before mustering back at the galley shed with the other 16 squads for the torchlit procession and burning. This year saw 170 guizers taking part, the most for several years.

It took a few hours for the squads to get through a packed programe of the usual standard of hilarious skits on stage at a packed Uyeasound hall. Featured in several squads this year were the musical exploits of local councillor Gary “Cleavage” and MBE recipient Elizabeth Johnson.

The night was finished off with the Alan Nicolson Band producing a rip-roaring set and the Unst folk dancing and revelling with their usual enthusiasm into the wee small hours.

Full report and photos by John Coutts in Friday’s Shetland Times.


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