Up Helly Aa Day

Up Helly Aa day is busy, the day is planned well in advance and for the Guizer Jarl and the 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

Guizer Jarl Roy Leask leads his 2008 Jarl Squad in the Marching on Tuesday morning. Photo courtesy of Millgaet media.

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 08:20.

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

The 2007 Guizer Jarl Graham Nicolson flanked by his sons Jack and Scott in front of his Bill placed at the Market Cross.   Photo courtesy of Millgaet Media.

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

The 2006 Jarl Squad assemble for the official photograph at the Bressay Ferry Terminal. Photo courtesy of Millgaet Media.

Once along the Esplanade (~10:00) and having stopped off at the Market Cross the Jarl and their 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 2009 Jarl Squad march up through Fort Charlotte en-route to the Town Hall reception.  Photo courtesy of Millgaet Media.

Town Hall civic reception

The Guizer Jarl and their 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.

The 2009 Jarl Squad during their visit to the Shetland Museum in the afternoon. Photo courtesy of Andrew Shearer.

Shetland Museum visitation

There is a brief visit by the Guizer Jarl and their 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 Jarl squad and fellow guizers during the Junior Procession. Photo courtesy of Millgaet Media.

Junior Procession

The Junior Procession starts at 17:30 from the Hillhead. As the Junior Guizer Jarl and their squad march along their procession route to burn the ‘peerie’ galley they are cheered on by the Guizer Jarl and their squad.

Senior Procession

The Senior procession moves off with the Guizer Jarl standing proud in his Galley. Photo courtesy of Millgaet Media.

At 19:15 the Guizer Jarls squad will pass up the ranks. This is when they 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.

2009 Guizer Jarl Stephen Mouat celebrates the burning of his Galley Is Bjørn. Photo courtesy of Millgaet media.

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 their Galley. The procession will march along the prescribed route before finishing in the burning site at the King George V playing field.

No members of public or press are allowed in to the burning site.