A “boannie day abune” greeted Guizer Jarl Liam Doull and his squad as they gathered early for the start of the Northmavine Up Helly A’.
Squad members looked resplendent in burgundy kirtles, topped with black Icelandic sheepskins and black leather-covered helmets with silver trim. Each Viking carried a spear with intricate rope-work and a shield with a stunning Odin’s raven design.
Jarl Liam, who chose to represent himself, rather than a character from the Norse sagas, wore a striking breastplate and carried a silver sword. Each outfit was finished off with black breeks and black, fur leggings.
Liam, who hails from Sullom, and his squad of 33 men, met at the Sullom Hall for breakfast to set them up for the day ahead. After breakfast, it was off to visit the three primary schools at Urafirth, Ollaberry and North Roe.
Young and old in the crowds agreed that the lively squad looked superb.
In a departure from the usual dining arrangements, Liam and his squad stopped for well-deserved lunch break at the new galley shed. After lunch, it was time to gather at the waterfront in Hillswick for photos at the galley, Jotunheimr.
A large crowd of folk greeted the squad and their six musicians at the waterfront. Everyone was especially delighted to see the Northmavine sailing galley in the water and several members of the Jarl’s squad took to the waves in her.
This unique sailing galley was built some years ago by the late Willie Leask and a team of men. If the weather allows, she is brought out and anchored in the bay on Up-Helly-A’ day.
In the late afternoon, the squad had a breather at the St Magnus Bay Hotel before Andrea Manson and her team filled them up with more maet to keep the boys going through the long night ahead. The torch-lit procession began at 8pm and more than 200 guizers followed the galley from the Hillswick Hall to the Ayre of Urafirth.
Once the Jotunheimr was well-alight, she was floated off to Valhalla on the loch.
After the procession, 14 squads visited the local halls in Sullom, Ollaberry and Hillswick for a night of dancing and merriment. The squads were excellent and had obviously put a lot of thought and hard work into their acts.
World politics featured, including several nods to the new American president and the Brexit debacle. And, it goes without saying that no Northmavine Up-Helly-A’ would be complete without a few gentle jibes at local folk and, especially, the Guizer Jarl himself.
Up-Helly-A’ weekend continues with an afternoon session in the Sullom Hall today, the hop in Ollaberry hall tonight with music from GTL, and the “Sooper Sunday” round-off in the St Magnus Bay Hotel.