Beaming faces as Vikings come to town

Helmets and axes gleaming in the early morning sunshine, Lesley Simpson and her resplendent vikings brought plenty of cheer to primary school bairns in Lerwick.

With golden breastplate and green velvet cloak, Lesley led her tribe of cheering warriors into Sound Primary School, much to the delight of the children who had been waiting patiently in the games hall.

The squad musicians, with a splash of purple to match their Viking warriors, whipped up the excitement with their lively fiddle-led tunes before the squad’s arrival.

Proudly sporting their triangular shields and banners, the mixed squad, of women, men and children crammed into the hall, before launching into a belting rendition of the Up-Helly Aa Song.

The Shetland Times’ own Frances Black stood at the front, clad in her magnificent Viking attire and giving it plenty of welly.

It must have been a good breakfast as the squad was in fine form as they sang to the school bairns.

Plenty of beaming faces greeted the special visitors and head teacher Kate Grieve gave a warm welcome to Lesley and her squad.

“I think they sang really, really well,” she told the pupils.

“Do you think we can sing back to them and show what Sound school can do?”

And with that the children sang their spirited version of the Up Helly Aa Song.

Head teacher Lesley, who will be visiting her primary school at Dunrossness this afternoon, then addressed the pupils.

She told them why the dragon was chosen for the squad’s shields, and why the triangular shields had been chosen – similar to the Lewis Chessmen.

The Guizer Jarl has chosen the female Viking Aud the Deepminded, born in 830AD in Raumsdal, Norway.

Pupils, Vikings and teachers then mingled in the playground, as the children were given a special glimpse of the golden-leaf galley Miss Lucy Two – the name of Lesley’s family’s wooden catamaran.

Squad member Averil Simpson was enjoying the day. She said: “It’s just great. The weather has just been fantastic. [It’s been] really, really good, given the weather in the past week, it was ‘a bit urgh’.

“It’s been fine, I hope it lasts for the procession.

“[The children] were singing so well in there [the hall], they were just so lovely, they all obviously learned all the words.”

Cara McDiarmid said she was also enjoying the experience.

“It’s amazing we’re having a really good time,” she said.

She praised the children’s singing, and added: “They were singing better than we were… we will have to work on that for the next school.

“It’s just such a privilege to be part of this day and make the kids so happy.”


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