Features / Up-Helly Aa 2012

Guizer Jarl David Nicolson - all photos in this section by Billy Fox


Across Shetland

Up Helly Aa’s 101 years old at Uyeasound

UYEASOUND Up Helly Aa celebrated its 101st anniversary with Guizer Jarl Tammie Strachan at the helm as Viking warrior Tore Heillersson.

It was a wild and windy day that did not improve by nightfall when the procession had to be shortened because conditions were so inclement.  Read more

Island beardies’ four day festival on Yell

VIKINGS need stamina, especially on the isle of Yell where they like to stretch out a good party for as long as they can.

The Cullivoe Up Helly Aa starts at 7am on Thursday morning and doesn’t end until Sunday night when the squad have their hair and beards shaved into “unique designs”, having involved the whole island in the fun. Read more

A wild weekend up nort

THE SECOND youngest Jarl ever to lead the Northmavine Up Helly Aa is having trouble believing that the wildest weekend of his life so far is over.

Determination was the theme for 23 year old Mark Kearney, from Sullom, who spent two years preparing for his big night leading 46 stylish Vikings, eight princesses and three peerie ones through a coarse night to burn his galley on the sea loch at Urafirth. Read more

Funky Vikings spice up Nesting fire fest

THE FOLK of Nesting and Girlsta joined forces with the west side on Friday for the biggest Up Helly Aa the community has ever seen, spicing it up with some Caribbean flavour along the way.

Guizer Jarl Iain Malcolmson was Harold “Bluetooth” Gormson for the day, leading a 23 man squad with 27 children, none of whom had performed in a jarl squad before. Read more

Fire festival season kicks off in style

2012 Scalloway Fire Festival Guizer Jarl Simon Mullay, magnificent as Jarl Sigurd the Stout (Sigurd Hlodversson), had chosen the perfect night for the highlight of one of the most important days in his life. Jarl Sigurd and his squad of 50 fine Vikings had spent the day visiting schools and other venues in the area before the spectacular burning of his galley, the Svart Fredag. Read more


Lerwick Up-Helly Aa

Enjoy yourself! It’s Up-Helly Aa 2012

PERHAPS it’s his military background, but this year’s Guizer Jarl led a particularly well choreographed display of Viking pride through the streets of Lerwick on Tuesday.

Resplendent in his mantle of shimmering cockerel feathers, David Nicolson looked very much the tribal chief as he led his disciplined band of warrior men and boys.  Read more

Up-Helly Aa 2012 in Pictures

More photos of the burning, the procession and the day’s events can be found at: Up-Helly Aa 2012 in Pictures 

Nicolson Jarl Number Three

DAVID Nicolson became infected with the Up Helly Aa bug when his father Jim took him to the galley shed at the tender age of six. That was back in 1968. The same year, young Davie was a member of the Jarl’s squad for the first time, awestruck by the presence of the Jarl, the late Thomas Simpson.

Forty four years later it is his turn to lead Shetland’s most famous festival. It’s a culmination of a momentous year for Davie, a year that has grown in intensity, long hours and hard work as all the pieces of the huge jigsaw fall into place for one of the most spectacular community festivals in the world. Read more

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021