Last night, (17th Feb) was the first of the two Unst Up Helly Aa celebrations for 2012 - the first one being Uyeasound. Although preparations have been going on for months and months, there is one thing that no-one can control or organize and that is the weather. Last year was fine but very windy, this year was very windy and VERY WET ! Catriona was in a squad again and had been concerned all week if she would be able to take part at all as she has had a very painful back, thankfully on the night it had eased up a bit. However, as it turned out, the weather stopped them taking part in the procession as the wind and rain would have possibly destroyed their costumes etc. I must admit to wondering why on earth we were turning out to stand in the wind and rain for almost an hour (or more) and then go and sit on a hard bench for 3 hours in the village hall. I think it's because of the community spirit, the atmosphere and the spectacle that scores of people of all ages turned out. Due to the weather, the procession was cut short and only went from the galley shed down to the replica boat that gets burnt by the shore. Below are a few pictures from the evening although I don't have any from inside the hall this year. This is due to the camera getting completely misted up with condensation which didn't clear in almost three hours in the hall. I did think about going in to the gents and using the hand drier on it - only knows what reputation I would have got if I'd have been seen in there with a camera ! It would almost certainly have made next years 'Bill' - this is what one looks like, from Lerwick's in 2009 -http://www.uphellyaa.org/assets/files/2009-up-helly-aa-bill.PDF.
The replica boat that is to be burnt later
Waiting in the rain
The Jarl Squad
One of the squads
Burning the replica galley
The 2012 Guizer Jarl
For a more detailed account of Up Helly Aa, you can find out more here