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Fire Festival 2013 / An Up Helly Aa with a difference

Guizer Jarl Murray Peterson in front of burning galley - Photos: Olivia Abbott

A bitter cold wind couldn’t chill the hearts of the participants or observers at Walls Up Helly Aa on Saturday night.

The villagers got right into the spirit of things, and none more so than young Guizer Jarl Murray Peterson, who showed some real Viking attitude as he led his squad and guests.

Walls is host to an Up Helly Aa with a difference, with the squads alternating each year between the Scouts and the Brownies, and no member more than about 14 years old, though the marshals in charge of the flaming torches were, reassuringly, all adults.

Murray chose the Viking name Yarrum Nosretep and also chose two princesses to be part of his squad.

They sang the Up Helly Aa song with gusto, (and they knew all the lyrics – ‘They’re making a better fist of it than the Lerwick lot!’ one observer commented) then set off along the route from the village hall to the burning site, led by a small Jack Russell who was also happily getting into the spirit of things.

Jarl squad plus dog in front of burning galley.

As the procession reached the burning site, fireworks lit up the sky, and the marshals threw their torches into the doomed galley Naidrocca.

A multitude ‘Three cheers’ rang out as Yarrum Nosretep led his squad in praise of all the helpers, costume creators, boat builders, axe makers et al, before they headed back to the hall for some well-deserved refreshments and a night of celebrations.

Hopefully there was a biscuit or two for the dog, too.

Olivia Abbott