We have been visiting Shetland for 20 years but never in January for Up Helly Aa. Having just completed a Shetland Wildlife Tour which included this spectacle, we cannot wait to return. The wildlife watching,even at this difficult time of year, yielded Arctic Hare, wonderful views of a feeding otter, a roosting long-eared owl, as well as black bellied dipper and little auk. Additionally, there were long-tailed ducks, divers, scoters, close up and personal seals and more. The day of Up Helly Aa exceeded all expectations. The whole day in Lerwick was exciting with processions and photo opportunities with the Guizer Jarl and his squad. The evening itself was spectacular: the sight of nearly 1000 burning torches processing around unlit streets; the darkness full of sparks; the smell of the torches; the growing excitement as the galley took its place in the centre of everything; the crescendo of singing as the fire consumed the Viking ship. We cannot wait to go back! Nothing is too much trouble for Hugh and Judd and their local knowledge is second to none.
Just a word of advice. To enjoy this trip to its utmost, you need binoculars and warm and waterproof clothing. Lerwick is above 60N. You will be outside for most of the day whatever the weather. Be mindful also that travel plans can be disrupted by storms and allow extra time. Don't be put off. Shetland is a magical place and you will receive the warmest of welcomes by Shetlanders who enjoy their Fire Festival as much as visitors do.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.