Copyright © 2009 - 2013 Up Helly Aa Committee
Up Helly Aa Day
Up Helly Aa day is busy, the day is planned well in advance and for the Guizer Jarl and his Jarl Squad there is barely a minute spare. This page outlines their duties for the day and the various locations where they can be seen.
Marching in the Morning
The first sighting of the Guizer Jarl and Jarl squad is early morning when they march through the town. The Jarl squad all gather for breakfast at an arranged location before starting their marching at 08:30.
The Jarl Squad will march to the Lerwick Branch of the British Legion at ~9:15. Following the stop over, they will depart the Legion at 9:45 and the squad will march with the Galley in to the town centre and along the Esplanade.
The Bill at the Market Cross
As the Jarl squad march over the street they will stop off at the Market Cross to view the bill and sings its praises.
Photos at the Bressay Ferry Terminal
Once along the Esplanade (~10:00) and having stopped off at the Market Cross the Jarl and his squad then march along Commercial Street and down to the Bressay Ferry Terminal. There is a brief stop to allow for an official photograph and to meet family and friends.
Please note there tends to be a large crowd of people watching the marching and photos at the ferry terminal, this includes many school and nursery children.
The Guizer Jarl and his squad then march up from the terminal through Fort Charlotte and into a civic reception in the Town Hall. During the reception a toast is drunk and the Guizer Jarl is given the freedom of the town for 24 hours.
Attendance is by invitation only.
Visitations and Lunch
Following the town hall reception the Jarl squad then visit the two Lerwick primary schools, the hospital and eventide homes. In between all of this they also grab some lunch.
Shetland Museum visitation
There is a brief visit by the Guizer Jarl and his squad to the Shetland Museum at ~15:00. This is open to the public and is a good opportunity to meet the squad and see the suit up close.
Following the Museum visit it is then time to head for an early tea before the processions start
The Junior Procession starts at 17:30 from the Hillhead. As the Junior Guizer Jarl and his squad march along their procession route to burn the ‘peerie’ galley they are cheered on by the Guizer Jarl and his squad.
At 19:15 the Guizer Jarls squad will pass up the ranks. This is when the march from the back of the procession up the middle of the ranks of their fellow fancy dress guizers to assume their place at the front.
At 19:30 a maroon will signal the lighting up and the 900+ senior torches will be lit. The Jarl Squad will lead the procession with the Jarl at the helm of his Galley. The procession will march along the prescribed route before finishing in the burning site at the King George V playing field.
The public are not allowed in to the burning site.
Following the burning of the Galley all the squads re-assemble and organise themselves to now embark on 11 hours of visiting. The halls are open welcoming the guizers as guests, the routine is the same in every hall. The squad arrives, performs their act, the guizers have a dance with a lady from the hall before saying ‘Thank you’ and ‘Goodnight’ and then leaving to repeat the same process in the next hall!
Visiting the halls starts at 21:00 Tuesday and finishes at 08:00 Wednesday. Wednesday is a public holiday to allow for recovery.