Shetland Amenity Trust kicks off Up Helly Aa with a series of fiery events

The fiery season is on us and the Shetland Amenity Trust is putting together a series of events as well as offering extended opening times to its main sites to appeal to locals and visitors alike.

The fiery season is on us and the Shetland Amenity Trust is putting together a series of events as well as offering extended opening times to its main sites to appeal to locals and visitors alike.

The museum is the place to visit for all Up Helly Aa aficionados with exhibitions, talks, music and craft activities lined up.

A photographic exhibition aptly named ‘Men in Tights’ is currently in place in Da Gadderie and will run until 22 February. The display focuses on UHA squads from the early twentieth century and highlights squad costumes from 1905 to 1923 which made use of a favourite Up Helly Aa disguise – men dressed up as women.

For those curious to find out how the Up Helly Aa festival started and learn how it has evolved into the format that we recognise today, Trevor Jamieson will be leading his popular ‘Origins of Up Helly Aa’ talk on Sunday 26 and Monday 27 January.

Fun family events are available too, starting with a free Bookbug session in association with the Shetland Library on Friday 24 followed by craft activities on Sunday 26 where families are invited to unleash their inner Viking and make torches, shields and helmets and take part in a mini procession of their own.

The Shetland Museum and Archives is a favourite destination during UHA day and is very much part of the ‘circuit’. The Junior UHA galley will be positioned at Hay’s Dock throughout Tuesday and the Jarl Squad will pay a visit later in the afternoon. As well as the obligatory march and a song, there’s plenty of opportunity to get a good photograph of the squad and their costumes against the historic Hay’s Dock backdrop.

Further afield, Old Scatness Broch and Iron Age Village will be opening its doors on Wednesday 29 January offering people a rare chance to visit out of season - as usually the site is tucked up for the winter months. There will be guided tours all day uncovering the myth and legend of this tentative UNESCO heritage World Heritage site.

Visitors will be able to soak up the dramatic wintry views at Sumburgh Head too with the centre, lighthouse and nature reserve open for four days (Sunday, and Wednesday to Friday). Katja’s Unken Wagen will be in situ too for a warming coffee and cake.

Ruth Mackenzie Chair of the Shetland Amenity Trust said: “We’re delighted to have so much on offer during the popular UHA week and we’re looking forward to welcoming people to come along and enjoy the excitement. It’s a great opportunity for both visitors and locals to drop by and experience the sites at a different time of year: the stunning locations combined with in-depth knowledge from our resident experts offers a first-class experience. And for those just looking to relax we arguably have two of the finest café locations - at Sumburgh Head and Hay’s Dock.”

The Shetland Amenity Trust’s Heritage Season ticket for 2020 is now available to buy at all locations.

For further information on all events, opening times and details on how to book tickets please book here

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