Lerwick Up Helly Aa 2012
|Up Helly Aa Fact File|
| David Nicolson|
|Galley Name:||Per Ardua|
|Jarl's Squad Members:||57|
|Number of Squads:||47|
|Number carrying torches:||855|
The Jarl's Squad
David Nicolson was the 2012 Guizer Jarl for the Lerwick Up Helly Aa, and represented Böthvar Egilsson. Davie's father Jim was Guizer Jarl for the Lerwick Up Helly Aa 1979, his brother Graham was Jarl for the Lerwick Up Helly Aa 2007 and his other brother John is Jarl elect for the 2019 Lerwick Up Helly Aa. The Jarl's Squad comprised 57 members including 12 bairns. The Galley was named Per Ardua.
About the Jarl's Saga:
Only the bravest of Vikings could enter Valhalla. These warriors were chosen by the Valkyries to feast with Odin until the last great battle of Ragnarok. Like Freyja, their queen, the Valkyries had magical feathered cloaks allowing them to turn into ravens. Early one morning an inquisitive young Valkyrie met with these black scavengers; blood crusting on their beaks and rags of flesh held firmly in their talons.
- So ravens, where have you come from with such gory beaks at the dawning of the day? I think you've spent the night where you knew corpses lay.
The ravens told of how they had followed a bloodthirsty king to Hafrsfjord, and there watched him crush his enemies in battle. Those who didn't want to live under King Harald's tyrannical rule set sail westwards to Shetland. Many, hearing of a new land to the north, decided to make the long journey to Iceland. Among these was an old shape-shifter called Kveldulf, and his berserker son, Skallagrim. Both were devout friends of Odin, the Raven-god.
Knowing he was about to die, Kveldulf announced that he would go on ahead and choose the place where Skallagrim should settle. His coffin was put overboard and, right enough, when they reached Iceland it was found washed up on a rocky shore. Skallagrim named the place Borg and set about building his house. When he died his son, Egil, took over the farm with his wife, Asgerd. Böthvar was the eldest of their three sons, and they had two daughters besides.
Egil made some long journeys abroad. He set off on his fourth expedition around the year 955 and was away for several years. On his return he was met by a tall strong man with long hair and a shaggy beard. Böthvar had grown up into a fine young man and Egil saw that he would become a brave warrior for Odin, just like his forefathers. During the summer merchants held a trading fair by the river Hvita. Egil bought a load of timber for he had plans to do more building at Borg. Ravens circled ominously overhead as Bothvar prepared his ship to take the wood home. He waited that evening for the tide to turn blissfully unaware that a storm was brewing.
Böthvar soon found himself in the grip of a raging south-westerly gale which churned up the water making it impossible to steer. Crashing waves began to swamp the ship, which overturned before being driven ashore. The wild breakers proved too strong for Böthvar who drowned together with all his companions. The next day Egil found Böthvar's body washed up on the rocks. The Valkyries however had already carried his son from the seething waters to be welcomed by the Raven-god in Valhalla. Egil was inconsolable but he could not question the Valkyrie's choice. They could no doubt see that Böthvar had within him the spirit of a true berserker.
Egil had been devoted to Odin all his life but now he was bitter and vengeful. Odin would enjoy Böthvar's company while he had to go without. Egil remembered how Odin too had grieved at the death of his son, Balder. This brought him some comfort in his distress. Böthvar would indeed make a worthy replacement and Odin had duly compensated him with a drink from his divine mead of poetry. Considering his tragic loss Egil sat down and composed the monumental poem, 'Sonatorrek'. This cheered him up and when he had finished he returned to his high-seat and prepared a great funeral feast in honour of Böthvar Egilsson.
Text from the programme by Brydon Leslie.
The Jarl's Squad suit was a combination of black leather (including shoulder armour), red kirtle with silver trim and white sheepskin. The axe was double headed and featured an unusual 180 degree twist in the metal along the shaft. In making the suits 12,000 yards of red thread were used for the kirtles, 1750 individual pieces of leather were used for the breastplates, there were 296 rivets on each suit making 20,720 for the squad and 133 metal discs were used in each breastplate making 9,310 in total for the squad.
Jarl's Squad Members: Guizer Jarl David Nicolson, Stuart Nicolson, Jim Nicolson, Graham Nicolson, Scott Nicolson, Jack Nicolson, John Nicolson, Bobby Nicolson, Magnus Anderson, Steven Anderson, Bob Boston, Erik Burgess, Marvin Coutts, Kori Coutts, John Robert Eunson, Colin Gair, Lyall Gair, Glenn Gilfillan, Bruce Gray, Neil Gray, Alan Herriot, Robert Herriot, Graham Hughson, Laurence Hunter, Andrew Hutton, Darryl Jennings, Michael Johnson, Bryan Leask, Ciaran Leask, Ian Leask, Paul Leask, Lowrie Leask, Ryan Leask, Steven Leask, Gordon Mackenzie, Ross MacKillop, Tommy McWilliam, Mark Moncrieff, Evan Moncrieff, Ryan Moncrieff, Paul Nicol, John Nicolson, Craig Nicolson, Lynden Nicolson, Corey Pearson, Steven Pearson, Iain Poleson, Neil Poleson, Raymond Pottinger, Tam Rowley, Ian Sandison, Victor Sandison, Harry Sandison, Alistair Scott, Cameron Scott, Dougie Shearer, Logan Shearer, Murray Shearer, Jeff Shearer, John Shearer, Laurence Shearer, Kenneth Shearer, Andrew Shearer, Neil Shearer, Rhys Shearer, Malcolm Sutherland, Andrew Thomson, Erik Thomson, Stewart Tulloch, Tommy Williamson, Andrew Young.
Jarl's Squad Musicians: Jimmy Burgess, Danny Garrick, Graeme Garrick, Bryan Gear, Martin Henderson, James Leask, Graham Malcolmson, Gary Smith, Peter Wood.
During the day
The Torch Boy's delivered the Bill to the Market Cross in the early hours of the morning, where it remained during the day. The Jarl's Squad mustered for breakfast at the Islesburgh Centre, thereafter marching (along with the Pipe Band), to the Galley Shed where they met the years galley. They then marched to the Toll Clock Shopping Centre where they sang the Up Helly Aa song and their own song. From there they marched to the Lerwick Royal British Legion where they again sang for the assembled well-wishers. The galley was also on display at the British Legion. Departing from there at 9.45am they then marched along Commercial Road and the Esplanade before turning into Commercial Street at Church Road. After a pause at the Market Cross for photographs with the Bill (where they were joined by the Junior Jarl Squad), they continued along Commercial Street to Harbour Street and along the Esplanade to join the Galley at Alexandra Wharf at 10.00am. After posing for photographs with the Galley the Jarl's Squad marched to the Town Hall, making their way along the Esplanade and up through Fort Charlotte. Thereafter visits were made to both Lerwick primary schools, hospitals and eventide homes.
Youtube video of the Jarl's Squad singing the Up Helly Aa song & their squad song at the Toll Clock.
YouTube video of the Jarl's Squad & Junior Jarl's Squad marching along 'da street' & Jarl's Squad singing on Galley at Alexandra Wharf.
Youtube video of the Jarl's Squad singing their squad song at the Shetland Museum and Archives.
This years galley was named Per Ardua (in adversity), chosen by the Jarl as he has previously served in the RAF Regiment. The RAF Regiment is an Elite Corps within the Royal Air Force - per adua website. In a change from tradition this years raven banner was red, this was last seen on the Lerwick Up Helly Aa 1965 Galley Loki when Tom Moncrieff was Guizer Jarl.
The Evening Procession and Galley Burning
The Guizer squads mustered at the south car park of the Islesburgh Community Centre from 6:50pm to receive torches and proceed to the Lower Hillhead. The Jarl's Squad passed up the ranks of Guizers at 7:15pm, accompanied by the Lerwick Brass Band. Pipe Band music was played during the Muster and Procession. At 7:30pm a maroon signalled the light-up of torches, followed by the Galley, Jarl's Squad and the Brass Band passing down the ranks and commencing the procession. The burning of the Galley was in the King George V playpark with a firework display following the burning.
YouTube video of Evening Procession and Galley Burning.
List of Squads
|Squad Number, Squad Name, Number of Guizers||Video||Squad Number, Squad Name, Number of Guizers||Video|
1. Böthvar Egilsson (57)
25. Taken The Piss (House) (23)
Best Lerwick Up Helly Aa Shop Window Display
This years competition for the best Lerwick Up Helly Aa shop window display was won by North Rock Gallery.
- Time-lapse video of the 2012 Galley building by Chris Brown on the Shetland Times website.
- Video of the Jarl's Squad in the morning on the Shetland Times website.
- Video of the final Galley burning on the Shetland Times website.
- Up Helly Aa 2012 in pictures on the Shetland News Website.