South Mainland Up Helly Aa 2011
About the Jarl's Guizer name
Brydon has chosen to portray one of the most significant but complicated characters in the politics of the Earldom of Orkney and Mormaer of Caithness. Along with Sigurd Eystein's son and Earl Thorfinn, Sigurd's son, Harald Maddad's son was one of the three most powerful Earls of Orkney as recorded in the Orkneyinga Saga. To Joseph Anderson's edition of the Saga he is described as: "...a mighty chief and a man of large stature and great strength." Known in Gaelic as Aralt mac Mataid, Harald Maddadsson was born in 1134 and was the son of Matad, Mormaer of Atholl and Margaret daughter of Earl Haakon Paulsson of Orkney, thus giving him both Gaelic and Norse lines of descent. Written in the Orkneyinga Saga is the reported abdication but more likely the murder of Earl Paul Hakkonsson the then Earl of Orkney, possibly at the instigation of Margaret, Harald's mother, which lead to the Earldom passing to Rognvald Kali Kolsson. However, with the judicious intervention of both Matad and Margaret, backed by King David I of Scotland, Harald Maddadsson was appointed joint ruler in 1139 despite the fact that he was barely five years old. During those formative years control on Harald's behalf was exercised by councillors chosen by King David who ruled in conjunction with Earl Rognvald himself.
In the early 1150s, either '50 or '51, Harald visited Norway with Earl Rognvald where he may have met with King Ingi Haraldsson and it was soon after this event that Earl Rognvald decided on his crusade to the Holy Land, he called a great meeting of all his chiefs residing in his dominions. He made it know to them that he intended to leave Orkney and go to Jorsalaheim (Jerusalem), saying that he would leave the government in the hands of his kinsman Harald and praying all his friends to obey him, and help him faithfully in whatever he required while he was obliged to be away himself. Earl Harald was then nearly twenty, tall and strong, yet he was a wise man and the people thought he would be a good chief. Despite his strength and his followers confidence in his leadership soon after Earl Rognvald's departure, Harald faced his first test and fared rather badly. King Eystein Haraldsson of Norway raided the Earldom of Orkney and captured Harald who was only released on the payment of a ransom in gold and the promise of allegiance to Eystein.
With the deaths of several prominent and influential Earls and also King David himself, Harald found by 1158 he was the undisputed Earl of Orkney and neither the Kings of Scotland or Norway were strong enough to dispute his title. With this power Harald pursued his own policies one of which was not to directly support the Kings of Scotland. As was the practice in Moray and Ross and Cromarty, lands were being ceded to Scots or Scotto-Norman nobles and with the allocation of land by King William to Harald the Younger, grandson of Rognvald Koli, this lead to inevitable conflict between the King and Harald Maddadsson. During this period of conflict and in the ebb and flow of battles, Harald lost but re-took Caithness. Harald's problems were not confined to Caithness. His brother-in-law Olaf fought with the Oyskeggs (Orkney and Shetland warriors) against King Sverre Sigurdsson of Norway but faced defeat at the battle of Florvag. King Sverre, thinking that Harald was behind this action seized Shetland which was never returned in Harald's life-time.
Harald's turbulent life ended in 1206 when he died of natural causes, but not before he gained some solace for the most gruesome event in his life. In 1202 Pope Innocent was persuaded that Harald had not been responsible for the torture and mutilation of Bishop of John Caithness but it had been Harald's kinsman and servant Lumberd and so he was suitably punished. Harald Maddadsson was married twice; his first wife Afreka (Affirca) bore him four children, Heinrek, Hakon, Helena and Margaret. His second wife was Hvarflod, daughter of the Earl Mael Colium of Moray. Married around 1168 they had six children; Thorfinn, David, Jon, Gunnhild, Herborga and Langlif. David and Jon went on to be joint Earls of Orkney while Heinrik ruled in Ross.
The 43 Jarl's Squad Members were: Brydon Robertson (Jarl), Catherine Robertson, Carys Robertson, William White, Leigh Smith, Irvine Burgess, Stephen Flaws, Craig Redfern, Archie Redfern, Brendon Smith, Kayla Smith, Darron Smith, Ava Smith, Grant Redfern, Steven Smith, Tomas Smith, Francis Smith, John Robert Burgess, Tommy Robertson, Addie Doull, Aidan Bennett, Ross Bray, John Hunter, Marcus Leslie, Willie Coghill, Danny Peterson, Liam Thomson, Duncan Flaws, Glyn Robertson, Jamie Robertson, Brian Abbott, Lindsay Angus, Lee Taylor, Martin Henderson, Craig Leslie, Kevin Jamieson, Matthew Nicolson, Kevin Manson, Ryan Couper, Steven Birrell, Kyle Malcolmson, Paul Lawrence, Gordon Reed.
The Jarl's Squad musicians were: Gary Peterson, Lewie Peterson, Erik Peterson, Stewart Grains, Don Robertson, Jimmy Burgess, Adam Johnson.
The Jarl's Squad shield design was based on the Quendale Beast, an interpretation of a piece believed to be a norse era horse harness or bridle. The design also featured on the galley sail, banner, squad brooches and belt buckle.
The halls open for the 2011 event were: Bigton Hall, Cunningsburgh Hall, Gulberwick Community Hall, Ness Boating Club and the Sandwick Social Club. The Guizers Hop night was on Saturday 12th March at the Cunningsburgh Hall.
During the Day
The torchboys delivered the Bill to Mainland's Shop in the early hours where it remained on display during the day. The Jarl's Squad day began with the muster and breakfast at Boddam Hall in the early hours. This was followed by visits to Sound Primary School in Lerwick, Cunningsburgh Primary School and Dunrossness Primary School. The Galley accompanied the Jarl's Squad to all the Schools. After visiting the Dunrossness Primary School the Jarl's Squad marched to Mainlands Shop where the Bill was on display, again accompanied by the galley.
The Jarl's Squad then departed for lunch at the Sumburgh Hotel where they also posed for photographs with the Galley. After lunch the Jarl's Squad visited Sandwick Junior High School, followed by the Overtonlea Care Centre at Levenwick. After this the Jarl's Squad departed for tea at Levenwick Hall where they remained until the muster for the evening procession.
Jarl's Squad at Boddam Hall in the early morning.
Jarl's Squad at Sound School, Lerwick and Cunningsburgh Primary School.
Jarl's Squad at Dunrossness Primary School and Sandwick Junior High School.
This years galley was named Kverndal, which means Mill Dale in Old Norse. The sail was made by the galley designer Erik Moncrieff and features the Quendale Beast on royal blue - the colours of Quendale Football Club. The galley colours were red and white alternating boards which reflects the Jarl's support of Aberdeen Football Club. The tape wound round the neck was required as the neck kingspan cracked in transit. Unfortunately a piece of the tail was chipped off as the galley was being towed to Sound School. The mast support collapsed, causing the mast to fall on the tail.Repairs were quickly organised however. Note the pin in the tail tip that was used to mark out the new scales - the pin remained there all day & was burnt with the galley in the evening.
Galley Shields painted by bairns from Sound School, the South Mainland Schools & the Jarl. Starboard side - stern to bow (as they appeared on galley).
Galley Shields Port side - bow to stern (as they appeared on galley).
The Evening Procession and Burning
The procession was along the Sumburgh Lighthouse road down towards Grutness beach. The muster area for guizers was along the road to the Lighthouse at the second of the roadside quarries, just above the Sumburgh Farm. Of the 442 Guizers, 383 were carrying torches. From 6:30pm torches were issued to guizers at the Sumburgh Farm with guizers walking up the farm track to the road, where the galley Kverndal was also positioned.
At 7:20pm the Jarl's Squad marched up the ranks, accompanied by the Lerwick Brass Band. Just before the Jarl's Squad joined the procession a heavy snow shower from the north-west started. The snow continued throughout the light-up at 7:30pm, the entire procession down the Lighthouse road towards Grutness beach (in many ways adding to the spectacle as the snow significantly enhanced the torchlight), and also while the galley was prepared for burning on the sea off the south end of Grutness beach.
As the guizers formed up around Kverndal to throw their torches the snow eased and by the time Kverndal had been launched aflame out onto Grutness Voe the snow had stopped. There were several very snowy looking guizers by this time and it is a credit to all involved that the procession and burning proceeded without any problems, despite the very difficult weather conditions.
Evening Procession and Jarl in Galley on Grutness beach.
|Squad Name||Guizers||Videos||Squad Name||Guizers||Videos|
1. Jarl Squad Harald Maddadsson
13. Tall Ships Shak De Hips
Total Number of Guizers 442
Total Carrying Torches 383
After the SMUHA
The SMUHA Committee organised a clean-up of the beach at Grutness the following morning although very little was left of the Galley. During the late afternoon the Jarl's Squad visited the Sandwick Social Club and in the early evening the Torchboys deliverd the Bill Head to the Jarl at the Social Club. The Hop night at the Cunningsburgh Hall followed during the evening.
The charity Jarl's Squad haircut and beard trim was during the evening of Saturday 26th March at the SMUHA Helper's Night, hosted by the Ness Boating Club. The Jarl's Squad chosen charities were Help for Heroes and Mind Your Head. Bidding on the hair and beard cuts raised over £2000 for the charities.
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