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Up-Helly-Aa Festival takes place this evening in Shetland - not a truly ancient festival, but probably one of the more famous ones.
I've always wanted to see this! A friend of mine lives in Shetland and he's been saying for me to head up for the festival for a while now.
I think it takes place on the last Tuesday in January every year, whatever date that falls on. It does look like it's worth making the effort one year.
these are some photos of the event, it looks excellent. Having braved the Outer Hebrides in winter for a few years it would certainly take something this spectacular to get me there in January.
Burghhead has a similar event, around the 12th of January where they burn a clavie.
This was covered by terrestrial telly this year could have been country file not sure, it was pretty good, although it looked a bit dodgy with all that burning tar: showed them making the clavie, the preparations for it and the ceremony.
Let's hope the stifling modern culture of risk assessment and overbearing safety precautions never reaches here, would hate an old custom like this to be put under the bureaucratic red tape.
Shame I missed that. Would have been interesting
It's not quite as big as Up-Helly-Aa, but in my new job, Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, on Beltane several people carry torches up one of the Lomond Hills (in Fife, not the Trossachs one), and have a bit of tasty heather ale at the top. I'm getting involved with it this year; sounds very interesting :D
As I say it's not as big and proffessional as Up-Helly-Aa or anything like that, but it should be fun!
Sounds good Urisk, I like the myth about heather ale, namely that the last of the Picts jumped off a cliff rather than give up its secrets.
If you want some exposure for the event Urisk you could write a short piece about it and we'll post it in our Gazetteer and festivals section. You could then add to it with comments and photographs after the event.
The same goes for anyone with a festival they want to promote.
There's a chap in Edinburough brewing traditional heather ale again; don't know if anyone knows. It's quite a decent pint actually.
Wayland's Smithy is one of the most impressive and atmospheric Neolithic burial chambers in Britain. Somehow this ancient grave became associated with Wayland, the Saxon god of metalworking, from whom it takes its name.
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