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Liam leads the Vikings up north

Northmavine guizer jarl Liam Doull witnesses his galley disappearing - Photo: Mark Berry

THE winter celebrations of Shetland’s Viking past are heading to isles’ northwest corner this weekend where it is Sullom man Liam Doull’s turn to lead the merrymaking.

At the tender age of 36 years, the mussel farm worker is already looking back at quarter of a century of being involved with the Northmavine Up Helly Aa.


“I have been enjoying the festival for many years, going back to the early 1990s. I was about 11 or 12 years old, I would say; that comes up to 25 years now,” the jarl said.

He has gathered 33 men for the occasion, all dressed in wine-coloured kirtles, black Icelandic sheepskin and wearing helmets with no wings or horns.

Liam said he had decided against depicting a character from the Norse sagas, and instead would represent himself.

The galley being sacrificed to the flames at the Ayre of Urafirth - Photos; Mark Berry

Speaking earlier in the week, the jarl said he had known for the last two years that Friday would be his big day.

“It is a pretty important day for me,” he said. “I know I will enjoy it.”

Following a hearty breakfast in the Sullom Hall on Friday, Liam has led his squad on a tour through the community, visiting the primary schools in Urafirth, Ollaberry and North Roe during the morning, before enjoying a well deserved lunch break at the North Roe Hall.

Following the traditional gathering for photos outside The Booth, in Hillswick, the squad retired to gather its strength for the torch-lid procession from the Hillswick Hall to the Ayre of Urafirth.

Once the galley has been consumed by the flames, around 200 guizers will be ready to visit the local halls in Sullom, Hillswick, Ollaberry and North Roe for a long night of dancing and merrymaking.

Liam Doull gathers his 33-strong squad outside The Booth on Friday afternoon - Photo: Courtesy of Pete Bevington