Nesting Up-Helly-A’ gets underway with real community spirit
Snow may have been falling in places but there was a warm family feeling to the Nesting and Girlsta Up-Helly-A’.
Guizer Jarl Norman Johnston, from Cunningsburgh, led his hardy squad for the event. And he was clearly ready for the task at hand, coming – as it did – 25 years after he first enjoyed the Nesting event.
Mr Johnston was supported in his role by his three children, 16 year-old Karis, her younger brother, Ryan, who is 14, and 10 years-old sister, Isla.
The Shetland Times was able to catch up with the Guizer Jarl ahead of a visit to Nesting Primary School. He said he was looking forward to the big day.
“I’m looking forward to it very much, I’ll be taking my squad around the schools. The procession is at half past seven, and on to the dancing after that,” he said.
He said there had been a lot of work going on in preparation for the day, but added: “It all seems to have come together quite well”.
He added he had “very much” enjoyed coming to Nesting 25 years ago.
“I’ve been coming ever since. It has a small, informal feel about it. Everyone that comes here wants to enjoy themselves and have a great day.”
Inside Nesting Primary, Karis Johnston said she was delighted to be taking part in the event.
The student of Business and Higher English at Shetland College said: “I’m really excited and hoping everything goes to plan, and we have a good time.”
She said things had taken a lot of organising, but stressed it was a real community effort.
And she said she was delighted to see her dad emerge as the Guizer Jarl.
Head teacher at Nesting, Kate Coutts, said she was impressed by the authentic costumes worn by the Jarl Squad members.
“It’s a great turn-out. It’s great that the community all works together.”
She said the bairns really enjoyed the experience, and had taken part in the event by making the shields for the galley.
• See Norman Johnston on video by going to The Shetland Times Facebook page.