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Community / Scalloway gives visiting sailors a taste of Up Helly Aa

WHEN MORE than 300 fully kitted out Vikings gathered in Scalloway’s Lovers Lane on Tuesday night, local jarl John Magnus Gray had the rare honour of steering a galley to her fiery death for the second time this year.

In what was a massive spectacle, Scalloway was hosting a torch-lid Viking procession with a difference to welcome the Tall Ships Races to Shetland.

Hundreds, visitors and local alike, lined the streets of the westside village to cheer the Vikings from across the isles as they marched the route to Port Arthur where the colourful galley met her usual end – this time in broad daylight though.

Many had never experienced anything like it before and could hardly believe what they were witnessing.

The Scalloway event was a chance for all 2023 guizer jarls to appear in one photo (left to right): Robin Sinclair (Northmavine), Leslie Stickle (Uyeasound), Jamie Laurenson (South Mainland), John Magnus Gray (Scalloway), Neil Moncrieff (Lerwick), James Morrison (Lerwick – junior), Jonny Knight (Nesting & Girlsta), Michael Thomson (Norik), Ian Harkness (Bressay), Steven Brown (Cullivoe) and Dwayne Davies (Delting). Photo: Dave Donaldson

Jarl Gray said the initial thought for organising the event was to raise funds towards a new galley shed, but that had then been broadened to become a warm-up event for the Tall Ships event in Lerwick.

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“It is so good that all the other squads have come and participated, it showcases the talent and the craftsmanship that exists in Shetland,” he said.

“It never ceases to amaze me how many different suits get done, and it changes every year, it’s just a tremendous event.”

After the procession local covers band the Plonkys is to perform at the Scalloway Boating Club, while there will be a disco in the village’s hall for juniors.

Hundreds turned out to watch the Scalloway procession Tuesday evening. Photo: John Waters
Photos: Dave Donaldson

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