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Guizers circling the 2011 Lerwick Jarl John Hunter in his galley Jagare at the burning

Up Helly Aa is a fire festival which is currently celebrated annually at 11 locations throughout Shetland, involving 12 Up Helly Aa Festivals. The longest running, largest and most well known is held in Lerwick on the last Tuesday in January, and is the most synonymous with the term 'Up Helly Aa'. Those outwith Lerwick, (sometimes referred to as 'country Up Helly Aa's'), are smaller but they are nevertheless spectacular. The only Up Helly Aa date that is fixed is Lerwick - the others may not happen each year and the dates may vary, but the 2012 dates for all the festivals (in the order they occur), are shown below:

Festival 2016 Date

Scalloway Fire Festival
Lerwick Up Helly Aa
Lerwick Junior Up Helly Aa
Nesting and Girlsta Up Helly Aa
Uyeasound Up Helly Aa
Northmavine Up Helly Aa
Bressay Up Helly Aa
Cullivoe Up Helly Aa
Norwick Up Helly Aa
South Mainland Up Helly Aa
Walls Junior Up Helly Aa
Delting Up Helly Aa

Friday 13th January
Tuesday 31st January
Tuesday 31st January
Friday 10th February
Friday 17th February
Friday 17th February
Friday 24th February
Friday 24th February
Saturday 25th February
Friday 9th March
Saturday 10th March
Friday 16th March

Shetland Places
Find out more about Shetland
Shetland Space.jpg
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Explore Shetland step by step
Make your choice from all our Shetland Settlements.
Or, visit our modern and ancient "capitals" Lerwick and Scalloway.
No visit to Shetland is complete without taking a ferry to visit one of the Outer Isles.

When rambling through Shetland
Look out for the historical attractions and local museums, or discover our naturally beautiful landscapes and our Voes, Firths, and Bays.

To get a taste of what you will see
Have a browse through our "picture galleries".

Looking for some indoor leisure activities?
Then join in and do some sports in one of our fine Leisure Centres: Go for a swim, try your skills in indoor bowling – or just watch the competing folks.
Or for something more leisurely take a look around our pubs and bars

Further advice for visitors to Shetland
Can be found by visiting our Tourism Pages

Featured Place

Maywick, with May Wick in the background, and the island of South Havra in the distance.
Shetland Life
Discover our present and past

The 2010
South Mainland Up Helly Aa
Galley 'Skidbladnir', and Jarl
David Smith.
Photo by Muckleossa

Shetland's best values: The people!
Here you can meet some of those who represent our community as well as some of the incoming folks and other native Shetlanders of the past.

Present Day Shetland
is a vibrant community based both in,

  • a great variety of businesses representing traditional but still important industries like fishery to the spearheads active in the renewable energies sector and
  • the active life in our communities, our schools and the modern colleges which play a major role in our social and cultural life.

Shetland Heritage
is represented by far more than our famous archaeological monuments such as Jarlshof and the Broch of Mousa.
Most importantly, it is a living heritage, living in our arts, crafts, music and festivals, as well as the continuation of traditional Shetland industries such as fishing, crofting, and knitwear.

File:Milo, Piper, and Missy February 2010.JPG
Milo, Piper, and Missy, the first pure bred Shelties to be born in Shetland for 15 years.
File:Mystery and Missy.JPG
Proud mother 'Mystery', with Missy.
Spotlights on Shetland Culture
About Shetland Music, Literature, Arts & Crafts,
Science and Cultural Events in Shetland</sup>

Aald Daa is the nom-de-plume of a Shetland author better known as Cavy Johnson, born on the 9th of May 1941 at Sandgarth, Delting, who collaborates with his younger sister Beth Gerrard, born Elizabeth Jane Johnson on the 24th of September 1946, also at Sandgarth.

'Cavy' was christened Robert Henry Johnson. His nickname was acquired when he arrived as a schoolboy at the Janet Courtney Hostel in Lerwick and it has followed him ever since. Once, a friend seeing his signature of 'R.H. Johnson' asked what the 'R.H.' stood for. Cavy, always a joker, replied "Right Honourable".

After attending the Anderson Educational Institute and Edinburgh University, Cavy had his career in the 'Met Office'. He spent several years working at Lerwick Observatory, but most of his career was at Met Office headquarters at Bracknell in Berkshire, where he finished up leading a shift team which operated the huge computers producing the national forecast. He retired from the Met office in 2001, and managed to return to Shetland in 2006.

Cavy contributed to the New Shetlander from the early 1960s. The pen name Aald Daa was first used for the poem "Da Peerie Hoose Ahint Da Burn" (inspired by the fiddle tune of the same name), which was a tribute to the passing of the outdoor water closet--a radical departure for the New Shetlander at the time !

Publications by this author are:

Mareel Spotlight

As the Mareel cinema and music venue is built we will add the latest pictures from the site here, on a regular basis.

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