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Community / Stromness to get a taste of SMUHA

A photo from the 2019 SMUHA procession. Photo: Kevin Osborn

THE SOUTH Mainland Up Helly Aa squad is heading to Orkney this weekend – with their visit set to culminate in a torch-lit procession through the streets of Stromness.

The squad have been invited to take part in the inaugural ‘Orktoberfest’, a festival in Stromness which will focus on the heady combination of Viking heritage and beer.

Jarl Liam Mullay and his squad will undertake a number of engagements while they are in Orkney, including to the Highland Park whisky distillery.

They will also visit the Neolithic chambered cairn Maeshowe, which has a special connection to this year’s SMUHA jarl.

Mullay, from Gulberwick, is representing Haermund Hardaxe, who is said to have carved runes into Maeshowe.

He said the runes “form an integral part of our suit”.

The torch-lit procession, meanwhile, will take place from 5pm on Saturday, with the squad set to be led through Stromness by their galley, the local pipe band and almost 100 children carrying their own candle torches.

Mullay said the procession would culminate in the burning of a bonfire, which will include a boat with a SMUHA galley head and tail.

The whole procession, meanwhile, is part of a fundraising weekend for cancer support charity CLAN.