And we’re off… fire festival season 2019 kicked off in Scalloway this morning (Friday) with a procession of Vikings through the village.
Guizer Jarl Maurice Jamieson – portraying Thorbjorn Hrollaugsson – led his squad of 51 from Port Arthur along Main Street and towards the Scalloway Youth Centre.
It was a dreich and cold morning but that did little to deter the Jarl’s Squad, who were full-throated in their roars as they marched behind the galley Einram (the name of Mr Jamieson’s daughter Marnie backwards).
The squad was resplendent in long teal kirtles with a suede leather breastplate adorned with a printed serpent design. Icelandic sheepskins, a brown helmet (bearing the same serpent motif) and copper round out the attractive suit.
The serpent motif is a nod to Mr Jamieson’s historical character – chosen because of his connection to Unst and the Guizer Jarl’s own heritage. It is said that when Hrollugsson’s son was killed his serpent sword was returned to him in Unst as a mark of respect.
Speaking before a visit to the Walter and Joan Gray Eventide Home, one of the many calls to be made by the Jarl’s Squad today, the Jarl said it had been a case of “so far so good”, even if the weather was “not the best”.
Calls to a number of schools take place during the morning before an afternoon party entertaining senior citizens at the Scalloway Boating Club.
The Shetland Times will be in Scalloway again this evening to get footage of the evening procession before the squads proceed with a night of revelry across Scalloway, Tingwall and Burra. Check back later today for a video of the burning.