NHS Shetland - Survey - March 2021

Spirited junior guizers

Lerwick Up Helly Aa's 2015 junior Guizer Jarl Lewis Harkness and his squad on Commercial Street. Photo: Craig Sim

AS AN unsurprisingly drizzly Up Helly Aa day turned to dark the junior procession began in the early evening, writes Patrick Mainland.

The rain cleared up and the light-up of the young guizers’ torches brought the first of some much needed warmth to the centre of Lerwick.

Thirteen year old Junior Guizer Jarl Lewis Harkness, aka King Magnus the Good, was relishing his moment as he paid tribute to the marshals and torch bearers before the galley, named Niamh, went ablaze at around six in the evening.

Leaving Islesburgh with roars, the 11 junior squads marched onwards to Hillhead and around the corner at the town hall, with the senior Jarl’s Squad, standing to greet them and salute as they made their way down King Erik Street, turning within the road and making their way into the park, followed by the brass band.

Torches were high and spirits were higher with the squads in fully enthusiastic cheer and Harkness’s fellow guizers equipped with some brilliantly designed serpentine shields. The procession featured a great turnout of folk to see the first flames of the night. The junior squad had been involved in a flurry of activity throughout the day; the early street marching and a jaunt onboard the Northlink ferry among the highlights of a busy schedule.

The 60th anniversary of the junior procession looms and Brydon Leslie is documenting its history for an upcoming publication. Year after year it is clearly a great experience for those involved and created a great sense of excitement among the both local and travelling spectators of the night to come.

Patrick Mainland