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Community / Fiery day for Jarl Colin at Norwick

Norwick guizer jarl Colin Laurenson with his galley well ablaze. Photo: Desley Ritch

GUIZER Jarl Colin Laurenson is portraying a Viking with a particular liking for Norwick at Shetland’s most northerly Up Helly Aa this year.

The descendants of Olaf Bergirisk are still supposed to live in the North of Unst to this day.

Bergirisk was part of the crew of Grimur Kamben (portrayed last year by Guizer Jarl Aaron Priest), a warrior and adventurer from the west of Norway who set foot in the Faroe Islands around the year 825.

On a trip north from Ireland via the Western Isles Kamben’s ship stopped in Norwick for some fishing and feasting. Bergirisk took such a shine to the place that he jumped ship – or perhaps it was the thought of the onward journey to Faroe that put him off.

The Jarl’s Squad paid a visit to Haroldswick Hall on Thursday night before today’s main event.

Norwick provides a truly spectacular backdrop for the procession of the guizer jarl and his squad and other guizers, who make their way down the old Floggie road to the burning site at the head of Norwick beach.

Evening celebrations will begin early with the Jarl’s Squad and approximately 200 other ‘guizers’ lighting their torches and getting underway.

The procession concludes with the burning of the galley, where the traditional Up Helly Aa songs will be sung and the galley is set alight.

Celebrations in the Haroldswick Hall will go on until late tonight where all 12 or so squads perform their acts on stage.

The committee have said that informality, camaraderie and, above all, a sense of fun were its founding principles, and these continue to the present day.

This story will be updated with new photos throughout the weekend.

Jarl Colin Laurenson and his squad arriving at Haroldswick Hall on Friday evening. Photos: Desley Ritch
The Norwick jarl squad gathers above Norwick beach. Photo: Desley Ritch