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Up Helly Aa – Shetland’s Viking Fire Festival

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Up Helly Aa Boat Burning

Shetland has been getting plenty of global attention courtesy of our Shetland ponies in jumpers, Fivla and Vitamin, who launched the Year of Natural Scotland last week. What better time then to shine a spotlight on Up Helly Aa – Shetland’s Viking Fire Festival – which takes place today!


These are just some of the words that Kate McCulley, the blogger behind @adventurouskate and who also took part in the recent #Blogmanay project, used to describe Up Helly Aa. Kate’s article – a first-hand account of someone experiencing Up Helly Aa for the first time – makes you feel you’re there, right in the middle of the action!

Short of travelling to Shetland yourself (which you should!), another way to get up close with Up Helly Aa are the live broadcasts through Shetland’s webcam network on 29th January 2013. Yes, that’s right – you can watch the largest Fire Festival in Europe, as it happens, live! More on that as well as a cool Beginners’ Guide to Up Helly Aa on

Watch out for the highlight –  the Burning Galley – as pictured in Martyn Brill’s breathtaking image of the burning of the Junior Jarl Squad’s Galley in 2012. Fiery!

Up Helly Aa Boat Burning

Burning Galley – Up Helly Aa. Photo by Martyn Brill.





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