THE SPECIAL sense of community is at the heart of all the country Up Helly Aas, and Saturday’s proceedings in Norwick were no different.
Guizer Jarl Melvyn Clark praised the magic of community events where everybody does their bit, and things happen because people care.
The 41 year old Norwick boy, now deputy head of Bell’s Brae primary school, chose to represent Ingulfor Arnarson, said to have been the first settler of Iceland.
The place he came ashore and built his homestead more than 1,100 years ago is today known as Reykjavik.
Arnason didn’t bring any comrades from the Icelandic capital for Shetland’s most northerly fire festival, but plenty of friends and family in stead from Lerwick and Shetland’s south end where he now has his own homestead.
His squad of 15 Vikings plus seven boys and eight princesses enjoyed every minute of their busy schedule on Saturday from taking the traditional squad photos at the galley shed and visiting the residents of the Unst care home to the procession and the burning at Norwick beach at night.
He was particularly proud of the specially designed shields for the galley, he told Shetland News while taking a short break from the festivities.
“I got every child to come up with a shield design and chose one from every class, so every class designed a shield for me and they are now on the galley that is being burnt.
“It is really nice to bring a bit of Bells’ Brae with me to Norwick, and quite a number of pupils and their families have actually come up from Lerwick to be part of the celebrations here.”
And he stressed that people in the north end of Unst liked to do things slightly differently. When it comes to the annual fire festival the focus is on recycling.
“We recycle the shields and are reusing the axes from previous year. The galley is actually used for the procession only and is not getting burnt.
“We usually rescue an old boat and give her a facelift before she is burnt on the bonfire,” he said before re-joining his squad’s feasting in the Haroldswick hall.
More photos by Kevin Osborn can be found on our Facebook site at www.facebook.com/shetlandnews
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