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Up Helly Aa’s 101 years old at Uyeasound

uyeasound galley-torches

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.

Uyeasound Jarl Tommy Strachan - all photos: John Coutts

But the poor weather was not enough to put off the assembled Vikings who watched the galley Fjell Hammer succumb to their fiery torches – just as well as it was the actual centenary of the Uyeasound galley burning. There was no galley in 1911.

The jarl squad looked a splendid sight in their red tunics and blue lined cloaks of grey, topped off with red leggings and fine grey and white shields, their impressive red helmets adorned with the wings of greylag geese.

The jarl’s occupation at HNP Engineers was evident in the chainmail that adorned the men as they made their way around the isle.

After breakfast and a visit to Westings where the jarls’ wife Annette hails from, the merry band of windswept warriors made their way to Baltasound to entertain the bairns with their songs and music.

The audience in the Uyeasound hall enjoying performances.

There was some sadness this year for there was no Uyeasound primary school to attend, but this was a day for celebration so it was made up for with a visit to the old folk enjoying independent living at home in Bruce Hall Terrace.

Before that though the men enjoyed a hearty lunch at Nordalea care home, where they lit up the faces of the old folk with their cheerful greetings.

The jarl's squad.

The afternoon was spent in Uyeasound hall to give folk a foretaste of the night ahead, with a touch of the 21st century coming in the form of a webcam link with the town of Gosport where Annette’s uncle Jim Jamieson lives.

Squad member Ivor Johnson also had the chance to show off his Viking outfit to his daughter Amber via the videolink, for she had travelled to Gosport from Southampton where she studies at nautical college.

The night was bright with song, dance and laughter as 13 squads performed for the assembled guests at the hall until 3am, followed by hop night with the Alan Nicholson Band

The jarls verdict: “I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it.”

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