NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Up Helly Aa fire festival held in Shetland

Up Helly Aa Image copyright AFP
Image caption A replica Viking galley was burned

Shetland's spectacular Up Helly Aa Viking fire festival has been held in Lerwick.

About 1,000 men paraded through the streets before burning their replica Viking galley.

Hundreds of visitors arrived in the islands for the annual event.

Image caption The participants make an impressive sight

This year's Guizer Jarl - festival leader - Mark Evans led his squad of latter day warriors, which included a number of relatives all the way from Brisbane in Australia.

Mr Evans portrayed the warrior Solmund Sigurdsson of Tonsberg.

The festival is a descendant of the ancient feast of Yule - which the Vikings held to celebrate the rebirth of the sun.

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Image copyright PA
Image caption Refreshments were flowing all day
Image copyright AFP
Image caption The participants braved wind and rain
Image caption Joining the festivities from Brisbane - Mike Ward and his two sons Tom and Rory

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