Nesting and Girlsta Up Helly Aa 2012
The 2012 Nesting and Girlsta Up Helly Aa took place on Friday 10th February with Guizer Jarl Iain Malcolmson representing Harald Bluetooth Gormson (Harald Blatand). The Jarl's Squad comprised 50 members including 24 bairns - 14 of whom were princesses. This year's galley was named Mjöllnir (Thor's Hammer).
About the Jarl's Saga:
When looking for a name, the Jarl, being an architect, found a kindred spirit in Harald Bluetooth Gormson. Harald is remembered for leaving a legacy of important constructions in his time.
Harald was born about 935AD, son of King Gorm the Old and Thyri Dannebod. Gorm died about 958AD. At the beginning of Harald's reign his authority only extended to Jutland but by the end he had unified Denmark. Harald built a chain of ring forts (including the Trelleborg Forts), at five strategic locations and at the entrance of each a bridge that was five metres wide and 760 metres long - bigger than the Burra Bridge! Through these wonderful engineering feats Harald was able to exercise direct rule over his entire kingdom and to extend Danish rule to Norway around 970AD. Harald strengthened the Danevirke, a massive wall that protected Denmark from invasion.
Harald was the first Scandinavian king to actively promote Christianity to his subjects. This was most likely a political move due to pressure from his powerful German neighbours. So in 965AD Harald was converted by Poppa, a German missionary, and he built a grand memorial at Jelling to mark the event. This included the famous Jelling Stones - the biggest and grandest of all the Viking memorial stones.
Harald set about converting the people and forced the Danes to accept Christianity but the Norwegians were not so easy to forget their pagan gods. The Runes on the Jelling Stones read "King Harald commanded this memorial to be made in memory of Gorm, his father, and in memory of Thyri, his mother - that Harald who won for himself the whole of Denmark and Norway, and made the Danes Christian".
The ties to the old gods was hard to break and Harald was killed about 987 in an uprising led by his treacherous son, Svein (Sweyn) Forkbeark. What might have been Harald's greatest architechtural achievement was a magnificent kirk at Rosilde. He moved the seat of royal power there from Jelling and this kirk was eventually replaced by a cathedral where Harald himself is buried and where members of the Danish royal family are still laid to rest.
Harald Bluetooth, or Harald Blatand, unified Denmark and Norway. This was made possible by his innovative engineering and construction projects that improved lines of communication. This legacy inspired Ericsson, a Swedish mobile phone company to name their innovative mobile phone technology after hime - Bluetooth with the logo - a combination of the runes for HB. Harald might have resorted to the Dane axe if his diplomacy had not worked... an application not available on your smartphone just yet!
Text from the programme.
The Jarl's Squad members were: Iain Malcolmson (Jarl), Gemma Hoseason, Faye Perry, Luke Malcolmson, Jacob Malcolmson, Tom Learmonth, Angus Malcolmson, Neil Malcolmson, Kevin Learmonth, George Fraser, Jayden Fraser, Connor Fraser, Morgan Fraser, Erik Stove, John Pulley, John Angus, Mark Manson, Ian Perry, Stephan Hennig, Sinclair Henderson, Magnus Hennig, Lauren Priest, Adam Priest, Michael Hoseason, Tom Henderson, Shaun Hoseason, Ian Hunter, Poppy Hunter, Graeme Garrick, Hannah Cooper, Paul Newlands, Emma Newlands, Rona Learmonth, Khloe Wishart, David Wishart, Millie Wishart, Anna Perry, Fergus Watson, Justin Watson, Jordan Webb, Isaac Webb, Sam Malcolmson, Megan Perry, Jack Henderson, Eilidh de Klerk, Marcel de Klerk, Pip de Klerk, Peter Malcolmson, Ruby Watson, Theo Webb.
The Jarl's Squad Musicians were: Brian Nicholson, Peter Sinclair, Graham Malcolmson, Maggie Adamson, James Leask, Mary Rutherford.
For the first time an extra Hall was open for the evening guizing with the Whiteness & Weisdale Public Hall added, along with the usual South Nesting Public Hall and the North Nesting Public Hall. There were 15 Guizer Squads, numbering 222 Guizers in total.
The Guizer Squads were: (squad number, name, number in squad) 1. Jarl's Squad (50), 2. Da breast strokers (8), 3. Yo-ho aff we row (12), 4. Panda du can (12), 5. Alcohol awareness on patrol (13), 6. Teddy bears' picnic (12), 7. Gloria us (10), 8. A'm sext an i keen it (14), 9. Shetland Olympics 2012 wi a twist (15), 10. Blue melt wi bruises (15), 11. Takk me furt (11), 12. Up-Helly-Aa tri-athletics (14), 13. Family (mis)fortunes (13), 14. S.I.C. SICK payday (9), 15. Charlie's Angels (14).
During the Day
The Jarl's Squad mustered at the South Nesting Public Hall in the early hours for breakfast, followed by visits to the Nesting Primary School, the Little Tykes Playgroup at Tingwall and the Happyhansel Primary School at Walls, where the Walls bairns were joined by bairns from Sandness Primary School & Skeld Primary School. This was followed by a photo shoot with the galley at the Nesting School, and lunch at the school with senior citizens and guests. In the afternoon they visited the Whiteness Primary School and visited folk around the Nesting & Girlsta area.
Youtube video of the Jarl's Squad singing squad song at Happhansel School & entering Whiteness School.
Youtube video of the Jarl's Squad singing Up Helly Aa song & squad song at Whiteness School.
This years galley was named Mjöllnir (Thor's Hammer). Mjöllnir was the prized possession of the thunder god Thor. It was a mighty hammer and the name implies crushing or with lightning (literally a thunderbolt). Mjöllnir was essential to the defence of Asgard, the home of the gods. Mjöllnir was the weapon that Thor used to maintain stability of the world and protect humans from the forces of evil and violence. Mjöllnir was forged by dwarves. According to Snorri Sturlson, Svartalfar Sindri, the brother of Brokkr, made Mjöllnir in a contest with Loki to see who could make the most wonderful and useful thing for the gods and goddesses in Asgard. It was powerful enough to shatter mountains, had the magical proprty of always hitting its target before returning to Thor's hand, and could get to be small enought to be carried inside Thor's kirtle.
Marriages and newborn children were consecrated by Mjöllnir and it was common for pagan Vikings to wear Thor's hammer amulets. During the transition period between paganism and Christianity Mjöllnir was a handy symbol to have as the design was easily adapted so that it could be taken to represent a cross or a hammer allowing the wearer to exploit the benefits of both religions. The Jarl's squad used the symbol of Mjöllnir for their pendants, and on their belts and banners.
Text from the programme.
Galley shields (as they appeared on galley), painted by bairns from Nesting School, the Little Tykes Playgroup, Whiteness & Weisadale School, Happyhansel School and Skeld & Sandness Schools.
The Evening Procession and Galley Burning
Guizer Squads mustered at the South Nesting Hall from 7pm onwards to receive torches & rank up for the procession. The light-up was at 7:30pm with the squads marching south through South Nesting to the burning site along the shoreline opposite the old Nesting School.