Location : Lerwick, Scotland
Destination Type: Cultural
In January, one of the darkest months of winter in Shetland, fires are lit to celebrate the islands heritage. Up Helly Aa( loosely translated as holiday for all) is the biggest event in Shetland .The main festival involves a procession of up to a thousand guizers in Lerwick on the last Tuesday in January
History of Up Helly Aa
- The current Lerwick celebration grew out of the older yule tradition of tar barreling which took place at Christmas and New Year as well as Up Helly Aa
- After the abolition of tar barrelling around 1874–1880, permission was eventually obtained for torch processions
- The first yule torch procession took place in 1876.
- The first torch celebration on Up Helly Aa Day took place in 1881.
- In the late 1880s the replica Viking Longship was introduced into Up Helly Aa.
Activities for tourists at Up Helly Aa
- Watch the Jarl’s Squad marching in early morning
- Watch The Jarl’s Squad stops at the Market Cross – where the Proclamation (aka The Bill – instructions with local jokes and satire included) is located.
- Watch the procession of Junior Jarl and his Squad and his galley
- Watch thoursands of tourches lit
- Finally, the torches will be thrown into the Galley, which will be burnt to ashes. Be a part of this
How to reach there
Sumburgh airport is the nearest airport. It has flights to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.
Edinburgh airport has flights to London, Dublin, Amsterdam, Paris Belfast and Frankfurt
There are ferry services from Aberdeen to Lerwick
Nearby destinations for tour operators / travel agents
- Kirkwall ( 167 kms away)
- Holmsgarth ( 2kms away)
- Veensgarth ( 10kms away)
Some hotels in Lerwick for tourists and tour operators with room tariff less than Rs.5000/- per night
Blydest self catering https://www.selfcateringlerwick.com/
Islesburgh House Hostel http://www.shetland.gov.uk/islesburgh/Hostel.asp
Scalloway Hotel http://www.scallowayhotel.com/
Fort Charlotte Guest House https://www.fortcharlotte.co.uk/
Photo courtesy:By Mike Pennington, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14424446