Hundreds of torches illuminated the elegant tan and green costumes of the Jarl squad, while also shedding light on the usual mix of weird and wonderful guizer costumes: from cowboys and big birds to nuns and super heroes.
THIS morning’s dreich start to Up Helly Aa did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the throngs of people lining Commercial Street, writes Genevieve White. From crowds of local school children to visitors from overseas: all were eager to cheer on the Guizer Jarl and his squad on their special day.
Some of the crowd had travelled far to witness Lerwick’s fire festival. Andrew Harger, who had come all the way from his home in Oregon USA, described the festival as “awesome”, adding: “It’s hard to find authentic things nowadays – go to Machu Picchu and you just find cameras everywhere. This is different: it’s unique.”
ELECTRICITY consumers in Shetland will “find it difficult” to understand why their bills are not coming down following a huge crash in oil prices over the past six months, isles MSP Tavish Scott says.
On Monday, SSE announced it would cut its gas prices by 4.1 per cent from 30 April, but is maintaining a freeze on electricity prices until July 2016. That is despite the price of a barrel of oil plummeting from over $100 a barrel to less than $50 dollars a barrel since last summer.
Following a successful trial in Walls, the mobile phone giant’s rural open sure signal programme will bring coverage to Aith, Baltasound, Fetlar, Sandness and Skeld. Late last year Vodafone added Baltasound and Hamnavoe to the list of those set to receive 3G.
Vodafone said those communities have suffered from unreliable mobile coverage and slow network speeds, but by installing its “innovative” technology, they will “benefit from high quality 3G voice services, and much needed access to the internet via mobile devices”.
The voluntary campaign group Planning Democracy has just petitioned the Scottish government to change current planning legislation so communities have the same rights of appeal that developers currently enjoy.
They say that if planning rules were fair, there would have been a full public local inquiry into the Viking Energy wind farm due to the level of opposition to the project.
FORTY-FOUR years on from his first outing as a nine-year-old boy, Tuesday will be the fifth time that Neil Robertson has taken his place in Lerwick Up Helly Aa’s Jarl’s Squad – the difference being that on this occasion he’ll be the main man.
In 1971 he took his place in Alan Anderson’s squad – an experience he remembers very fondly: “As a peerie boy, things like swords – and we had spears that year – it was just a magical kind of toy to have”.
POLICE say a man has been cut free from a van following a two-vehicle collision near the Sound Brae to the south of Lerwick. The man has been taken to the Gilbert Bain Hospital but his injuries are not thought to be serious.
A fire and rescue spokesperson said they had been called, along with other emergency services, to what was described as a "serious road traffic collision" involving the van and other vehicle, at around 3.50pm.
The road was initially closed while the emergency services carried out their duties, and police were subsequently able to partially reopen it. It is hoped to be fully open again by around 6pm.
SHETLAND’S burgeoning SNP branch has welcomed aspects of yesterday’s announcement of legislation detailing further devolution to Scotland – but warned that “much more needs to be done to make the country a fairer place to live and work”.
The party’s local branch has seen a huge surge in membership from 46 to 272 – a rise of some 580 per cent – since Scotland voted No by a 55-45 margin in September's independence referendum.
In Shetland only 36 per cent of voters said Yes to independence, but that has not stopped a massive spike in local membership numbers.
CONGRATULATIONS to Shetland News reader Kay Foster, from Lerwick, for winning our Christmas Quiz competition.
The council employee said receiving a 'golden envelope' with gift vouchers from local shops worth £230 was like an "unexpected present" for her birthday, which she celebrated earlier this week.
The charity has extended its deadline for applications until the end of February after receiving next to no interest in the two vacancies, which were advertised in December.
The two posts became available after NHS Shetland chairman Ian Kinniburgh and Voluntary Action Shetland chief executive Catherine Hughson's terms of office came to an end.
A MAN whose string of offences including stealing from three Lerwick shops and driving a motorbike while unfit through drink or drugs has been jailed for five months.
Lerwick Sheriff Court heard on Wednesday that 41 year old Simon Edwards, of Hoofields, Lerwick, committed the offences, all in the last three months of 2014, while on bail.
On 20 October he stole a hooded top from Cee & Jays, going on to thieve two gift sets from Boots Chemist on 17 December and then steal four computer games from Tesco four days later.
Mates have decided to drop some of their planned action, and will now act as masters if required.
The Garriock Brothers low loader carrying a 25 tonne digger tumbled down the steep bank just south of the A970’s north junction for the village of Levenwick, in Shetland’s south mainland, at around 4.30pm.
No one was injured, but Shetland Islands Council was forced to close the main road for most of Tuesday to allow Garriocks to retrieve the vehicle as a safety measure, due to the number of drivers stopping to look.
The Garriock Brothers’ lorry carrying a digger came off the road at 5pm as it travelled south on the A970 between the north and south Levenwick junctions.
Police were called to the scene and said the driver was uninjured, but a report is to be sent to the procurator fiscal.
Councillors at Tuesday’s Shetland Islands Council’s education and families committee meeting are set to back a proposal to postpone consultations on closing or cutting back classes at the islands’ five junior high school until 2017.
The move follows the “overwhelming opposition” to proposals to either close or discontinue S4 classes at Mid Yell and Whalsay junior highs.
THE CREW of a vessel drifting off Shetland earlier on Saturday has managed to restart her engine and is now on her way to Lerwick.
The Northern Viking with three crew on board had alerted Shetland Coastguard at 10.40am that they were drifting seven miles northwest of Fitful Head after losing power.
The coastguard search and rescue helicopter 102 was quickly on the scene while the Aith lifeboat made her way from the westside village.
THE AITH lifeboat and the Coastguard search and rescue helicopter 102 have been launched to assist a 28 metre tug that lost power a few miles off the southwest corner of Shetland mainland.
The three strong crew of the Northern Viking alerted Shetland Coastguard at 10.40 on Saturday morning.
At the time her position was given as seven miles northwest of Fitful Head.
Both UK and Scottish governments have put their full weight behind cutting the cost of exporting electricity from the isles.
UK energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey said Westminster would bring forward the setting of the minimum “strike” price for renewable energy generated in the isles from next year to July this year.
A POLICE visit to a house in Shetland’s south mainland to ask for the TV to be turned down appears to have ended in violence, with one man being held on remand until next week after allegedly attempting to repeatedly bite a policeman.
Two officers turned up at a house at 2 Midgarth, Cunningsburgh, in the early hours of Friday morning to ask its occupant, 42 year old Carol Robertson, to turn the TV down.
However later that day Robertson, who lives at the Midgarth address, appeared from custody at Lerwick Sheriff Court along with 37 year old Kelly Ann Ross and 32 year old David Joseph McKinnon.
AN EMPTY bungalow in Tingwall belonging to a woman who recently died was destroyed by a blaze in the early hours of Friday morning.
Around 20 fire fighters from Lerwick, Scalloway and Bixter tackled what they decribed as “an intense house fire” after being called out at 3.20am to the cottage called Tingview at the foot of the Griesta road in the Tingwall valley.
The bungalow belonged to Phyllis Burns, an elderly woman whose funeral took place just last week.
BP North Sea said they would be shedding 300 jobs across the North Sea region this year as part of a long term restructuring programme.
However Shetland remains a key part of the company’s strategic plan for the future, with £7 billion investments in the north Atlantic proceeding as planned, along with the gas sweetening project at Sullom Voe.
A dispute over the grading of ferry mates has been rumbling on for some time, and as of next week they will refuse to “act up” when the vessel’s skippers are unavailable.
The schools in Dunrossness, Sandwick, Cunningsburgh, Ollaberry, North Roe and Fetlar are closed.
Scottish and Southern Energy said on Wednesday morning that most supplies should be restored later in the morning.
Around 140 customers at Sumburgh and 367 households and businesses at Gremista were expected to have their power back by 10.30am.
Meanwhile 220 customers in Ollaberry lost power at 8.50am. Engineers are working to restore supplies.
Several residents had submitted letters indicating they would object to the development if no new car parking spaces were provided to compensate for the spaces to be lost in constructing the roundabout.