Historic Up Helly Aa comes to an 'emotional' end with galley burning 

Up Helly Aa is held on the last Tuesday in January in Lerwick, the main town in the island group.

An annual fire festival, celebrating Shetland’s Norse heritage, has come to an “emotional” end for the year.

Up Helly Aa is held on the last Tuesday in January in Lerwick, the main town in the island group.

During the festival, members don Viking-style clothing as more than 1,000 torches are lit on the day.

This year’s event took place on January 30, with festivities beginning from 8.15am and continuing well into the night.

Jenna Moar will be one of the first female participants in this year’s jarl squad.

The festival begun with the guizer jarl leading his squad through the town, dragging the replica galley and singing the Up Helly Aa and galley songs.

The walk sets off a day of civic receptions and visits to schools, hospitals and homes.

The festival comes to an end with a ritual burning of the galley.

The organisation is run by a voluntary committee of 17 members.

As the night came to a close Richard Moar, chief jarl, said: “Proud, a bit emotional about the fact that the galley is gone. But it’s all part of the process of being the guys that are Jarls and enjoying the moment.

“Proud, excited. Just really phenomenal. It’s a huge adrenaline rush, so happy.”

This years event was even more special as Mr Moar’s daughter, Jenna, became one of the first female participants in the jarl squad.

The 16-year-old made history as she, and other women, joined the main “squad” at the head of the procession throughout Lerwick for the first time in the event’s 143-year-old history.

Bethany Moar, chief jarl’s daughter, said: “Everybody has been a great participant in it. It has been phenomenal, just emotional right now, seeing it all come to an end and the night is just starting.”

The organisation is run by a voluntary committee of 17 members, each selected by the guizers – or costumed participants – with one new member elected each year.

Marie Moar, chief jarl’s wife, said: “Everybody’s been involved in making the suits and preparing social nights and gatherings and organising all the different aspects of it. It has been a cracking day.”

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