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Funky Vikings spice up Nesting fire fest

Jarl Iain

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.

Not only did they impress with their home-made outfits, but their stirring Viking version of an old Toots & the Maytals reggae tune went down a storm on the cold, windy night.

The galley goes up in flames - Photo: Arwed Wenger

It was a historic occasion both for the inclusion of Whiteness and Weisdale as the third hall for the first time, but also the premier of two squads from Walls bringing the total to 15 with 221 guizers in all.

The jarl squad looked outstanding in their home made suits, with steel-trimmed leather helmets and neck guards, wool cloaks from cloth woven at Sandness mill, green pigskin kirtles, woollen puttee leg wraps, two-handed axes, knives and shields.

The Jarl’s cloak was lined with red linen to match the Viking dresses worn by the princesses and had rabbit skin draped over the shoulders.

As an architect himself, the jarl chose Harold Gormson for his reputation for building forts throughout his Danish homeland.

The outstandingly turned out Jarl squad pose on the coast. Pic. Ivan Hawick.

He also lent his name to that most modern of technologies: Bluetooth. Swedish mobile phone company Ericsson chose him for his record of bringing together warring tribes and religions as the name for the technology that links mobiles and computers.

After Saturday night’s hop, Jarl Bluetooth said: “This year’s Up Helly Aa has been a total success and we would like to thank the many unsung heroes who make this so every year. Both myself and the rest of the squad have had a fantastic time. Who would have thought scary Vikings and reggae are a perfect match!”

Squad member Marcel de Klerk, from Glen Isla, added: “This has been a once in a lifetime experience for me and my family. We will never forget it.”