History in the Making - First Female Guizer Jarl

by Helen Smith -

History will be made on 13th March, when Lesley Simpson from Maywick will become the first ever female Guizer Jarl. She'll represent Bigton and Levenwick for the South Mainland Up Helly Aa and will lead the procession through Bigton to St Ninian's Isle for the burning of her Galley. The South Mainland Up Helly Aa, or SMUHA as it's known locally, is the most recent Up Helly Aa festival, with the first one being held in 2010. It's hosted by 5 villages in the south mainland, Bigton, Sumburgh, Cunningsburgh, Sandwick and Gulberwick; with each one taking a turn in. I was lucky enough to catch up with Lesley on the run up to the big day, you can listen to our peerie chat here. Sorry to disappoint but, there are no spoilers of what the suit will look like!

The burning of the galley takes place in the sea in each of the villages. I thought I'd share a video of the burning of the 2013 galley, at Hoswick in Sandwick. The music is by local band, Bongshang and features the Royal Scottish National Orchestra - I hope you enjoy it.

Posted in: Heritage, Community, News