IT IS the case of following in dad’s footsteps for James Anderson today (Friday) as he leads the Bressay Up Helly Aa jarl’s squad.
The 27-year-old’s father was jarl back in 1986 and he is wearing the same colour of suit as his dad – orange.
The theme of fire won’t just be restricted to the outfit or torch-lit procession at night, though, with references scattered throughout the squad.
Guizer jarl Anderson, who has lived in Bressay all of his life, is representing Njord, who is said to have had the ability to calm both sea and fire.
“My suit is the fire [orange] and the rest of my squad’s suit is the sea – which you can imagine the colours of that,” he said.
“My dad Keith was the jarl in 1986 and his suit was orange too.”
Anderson’s penchant for cinnamon-flavoured whisky Fireball, meanwhile, is getting a starring role in the day too.
The galley name – surely a bit of a mouthful after a few drams – is Fflórabitélshós, which is an anagram of ‘shot o Fireball’.
The squad – 37 adults and five children – will also sing a medley of tunes featuring an Elvis song, an Irish folk ditty and Fireball by Pitbull, of course.
There will also be reference to James’ interest in attending Scotland football matches through the Tartan Army tune Coming Down the Road.
Some of the squad are travelling far for the day, James said, with a cousin travelling from Stockholm.
“He came back three weeks ago and he’s been helping out,” he said.
“I’ve got two members from Newcastle, and a member from Edinburgh as well.”
James, who has been on the Bressay Up Helly Aa committee for ten years, kicked off the day alongside his squad at the Speldiburn Cafe for some stomach-lining grub.
The Vikings are being let loose on the Shetland mainland during the morning as they visit the Bell’s Brae Primary School and the ASN department of the Anderson High School.
It is back to Bressay at midday, with visits scheduled to Maryfield, the shop, hall and galley shed before folk muster at 7.45pm for the procession, which encourages anyone to participate.
“There’s 140 torches been made,” James said.
“Any spectator can actually have a torch. It’s a little bit different than your usual Up Helly Aa.
“This year there’s nine squads including the jarl squad. Last year was only four squads including the jarl squad, so it’s more than doubled this year.”
The night time revelry will kick off at the Bressay hall at 9pm to cap off a busy day.
“There’s been a lot of build-up to the Bressay Up Helly Aa this year,” James said this week, “so hopefully the weather stays dry and we get a good day.”
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 390 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News