Few have heard of it, let alone been. Our destination is Shetland in the far north of Scotland, where one of the most incredible festivals in Europe is held. On the last Tuesday of January, the town of Lerwick goes more than a little mad. Up Helly Aa is a lot more than a sub-arctic bonfire and booze-up. It’s a superb spectacle, a celebration of Shetland’s history and a triumphant demonstration of the islanders’ skills and spirit. Fifty helmeted Vikings and a burning Norse galley. Unmissable! Continue reading »
A gannet grabs a fish by its beak, 2014, in Shetland, Scotland. Hundreds of gannets crash into the sea in search of food – leaving a trail of air bubbles in their wake. Richard Shucksmith on the Shetland Isles, Scotland captured the remarkable scene as he took a boat to feed the large colony of seabirds that nested on the cliffs. The photographer has taken images of the gannets every summer for the last three years as the birds gather on the cliffs to breed. Continue reading »
Shetland ponies wearing cardigan sweaters are the official ambassadors of Visit Scotland tourism campaign. Photographer Rob McDougall captured two cute ponies named Fivla and Vitamin dressed in traditional Fair Isle Scottish cardigans to celebrate the Year of Natural Scotland. Their onesies were made out of Shetland wool by a local knitter Doreen Brown. The ponies live at the Thordale Shetland Stud Centre. Continue reading »
Up Helly Aa celebrates the influence of the Scandinavian Vikings in the Shetland Islands and culminates with up to 1,000 ‘guizers’ (men in costume) throwing flaming torches into a longboat.
Vikings take to the streets of Lerwick. (Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images) Continue reading »