The Delting Jarl’s Squad was blessed with a dry and calm start to the day as they mustered at The Northern Lights function room to start the festivities this morning.
The day kicked off with good humoured toasts from ex-jarls, followed by the customary toasts to Up-Helly-A’ and to Jarl Christopher “Big C” Nicolson aka Sigurd Magnusson.
Christopher chose to represent Magnusson because his father Edmund had represented Sigurd’s dad Magnus Erlingsson back in 1985.
This year’s squad is very much a family dominated affair, with Christopher’s father, brothers, sister, children, cousins, nieces and nephews taking part. The galley is called Stor Sjø (Big Sea), which links in with Christopher’s nickname Big C. The full sized galley is also joined by a smaller one (Peerie Sea) to be used by bairns in the squad.
This year will also be the last to use the longstanding Galley Shed in Brae, with efforts already underway to raise funds for a replacement building.
The suit is comprised of blue kirtles, grey helmets, deer skin cloaks and New Zealand sheepskin boots. The design on the brooches and shields was inspired by a belt buckle, while the crowns for the princesses in the squad were designed at Art Machine.
Squad members are also equipped with a handy leather pouch round their waists – just big enough to hold a sneaky half bottle of spirits.
Christopher said he was “very excited for the day ahead”, adding that he was glad the weather was looking good.
After speeches at the Lights (which also included a spare moment for tea, coffee and bacon rolls) the Jarl’s Squad members made their way out onto the main road heading for the galley shed. A small crowd was assembled to witness the first activities of the squad’s busy day which will see them visit local schools, Sullom Voe and the Mid Brae Inn.
This will be followed by tea at the Voe Hall before heading back to Brae to prepare for the procession at 7.30pm.