North Nesting Jarl Steven Cassidy and his band of vikings were greeted by a dull but dry morning as they kicked off proceedings for this year’s Nesting & Girlsta Up-Helly-A’.
The native Glaswegian and his Jarl’s Squad were in fine spirits, despite the grim forecast, as they entertained bairns and parents at the South Nesting Primary School.
“It’s been brilliant”, said the Jarl, “the school ones have been brilliant and we’re just hoping for a good day and night and hopefully this weather stays dry.”
Green features heavily in the squad’s regalia as Cassidy (portraying Svein Forkbeard) payed homage to his home city and his beloved football team Celtic.
The galley, named Weegie, is painted green and gold, the colours of Glasgow City Council, with the Jarl saying he was glad he had not settled on Celtic’s green and white – which would have clashed with this year’s Lerwick Up-Helly-A’.
“That would have been a catastrophe”, he joked.
The squad’s shields and cloaks are emblazoned with a wolf design created by the Jarl’s wife Tracey. Her father had also carried a shield featuring a wolf when he was Jarl and this year’s festival marks the 30th anniversary of that occasion.
A hidden message on the shield, written in letters of the runic alphabet, reads “come on you bhoys in green” in another nod to the Glasgow football side.
“The Rangers boys weren’t too happy when they found out”, Cassidy laughed.