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Highland Explorer Tours Offers ‘Up Helly AA’ Fire Festival in Scotland

Up Helly AA, Highland Explorer Tours

With the recent Robbie Burns Night celebrations spotlighting Scottish folklore and culture, Highland Explorer Tours, delivering award-winning tours throughout Scotland, invites clients to discover the Up Helly AA, Shetland’s yearly Viking fire festival. This traditional winter festival began in the 1880s and is celebrated on the last Tuesday in January as it recognizes the lengthening of the days and the dawn of another new year. Guests will explore these remote islands located in the far north of the country. They will immerse themselves into Shetland’s colourful Norse tradition with traditional music, classic Scottish dancing, the ceremonial burning of a full-size replica Viking Long Ship, and the world-famous torchlight procession in the town of Lerwick.

“As one of the most incredible festivals in Europe, we are excited to invite guests to join us for next year’s Up Helly AA Viking Fire Festival and explore the Shetland islands, says Graeme WardManaging Director of Highland Explorer Tours and Radical Travel Group. “It is a community event with thousands of volunteers organizing all the festivities and celebrating Shetland’s history. The 1,000 Viking-attired torch-bearers is an unforgettable spectacle,” he adds.

On the 7-day Up Helly AA tour, guests will experience an unforgettable journey from Edinburgh to the Shetland islands, discovering historical landmarks and captivating landscapes. With a passionate local guide, they will travel to the Kingdom of Fife with its rugged coastal scenery along with a visit to the ancient university town of St. Andrews, renowned as the Home of Golf. Onwards to Aberdeen to Dunnottar Castle perched atop a 160-foot rock on the edge of the North Sea. They will board a ferry for an overnight journey and embark on their voyage to the Shetland Islands. After sailing into Lerwick, where the festival takes place, clients will spend several days exploring the main town of Shetland with visits to Scalloway Castle, the islands of Burra and Trondra and the scenic beach at St Ninians’s Isle.

On the big day of the Up Helly AA Festival, guests will join the festivities by cheering on the Junior Guizer Jarl squad (young Vikings) with their own vibrant parade before the main event. In the early evening, the world-famous torchlight procession begins with one thousand torch-bearing guizers in full Viking attire marching through the procession route, culminating in the ceremonial burning of a full-size replica Viking Long Ship. The torches are hurled into the dragon ship and the crowd sings 'The Norseman's Home.’ The town of Lerwick is in darkness as the streetlights are switched off and the fiery glow at ‘light up’ is truly a spectacular sight.

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