News / Hogmanay Northern Lights display woos global audience

TOURISM organisation Promote Shetland says its live radio and video broadcast “eclipsed Edinburgh’s New Year fireworks on Hogmanay” thanks to a spectacular display of the Northern Lights on its network of webcams.

The webcams, linked up to Promote Shetland’s 60 North radio and video output, was live on Saturday night with the weekly Beatcroft Social music programme hosted by former BBC radio DJ Tom Morton.

It was broadcast from the studio at Lerwick’s Market Street on Facebook Live and on the 60 North website.

Promote Shetland said “awed listeners and watchers from as far away as Abu Dhabi and Indiana in the USA, as well as throughout the UK and Europe, were enraptured by the mirrie dancers, mainly seen from the ‘cliff cams’ at Sumburgh Head which in the summer shows thousands of nesting puffins”.

The radio show, which has a “museum of lost audio” feature, also broadcast rare music on cassette from the likes of Yell band Scrape the Barrel, and on vinyl from Aly Bain, Trevor Hunter, Tom Anderson, Davie Tulloch and Violet Tulloch.


Morton said: “It was great, and a real privilege to take Shetland to the world for two hours, live on Hogmanay. The show has built up a real following since going on air at midsummer. We were very lucky to be on air when the aurora became so strikingly visible.”

Andy Steven of Promote Shetland said the radio and video streams were attracting a great deal of interest from folk thinking of coming to the isles on holiday or even to live.

“Our webcams show fantastic scenery and wildlife in the summer, and the winter we can, if we’re lucky, relay the aurora to the world, coupled with great music from Shetland and beyond,” he said.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity we hope to build on in the months to come, starting with an all-day Up Helly  Aa broadcast.”

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Meanwhile, the Lerwick fire festival has been featured as one of the top 14 events taking place in the UK by a holiday letting website owned by TripAdvisor.

Up Helly Aa appears in HolidayLettings.co.uk’s list, and its spokeswoman Saskia Welman said: “A Viking-inspired celebration, the Up Helly Aa day in Lerwick allows you to see the Guizer (chief) Jarl and his crew march through the streets of the town carrying flamed torches, followed by their handmade Viking galley.

“During the event, the town is plunged into darkness making this fiery trail even more spectacular to experience.”

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