Things start to warm up before dawn when the Jarl squad unveil the proclamation in the centre of town. The proclamation is a tongue in cheek look at local news and events. Later in the morning the Jarl squad parade through the town with the 'galley', a specially made longboat, before spending the day visiting local schools and groups. The parade is accompanied by a pipe band and a brass band. Normally the galley is taken down next to the Bressay Ferry terminal in front of the harbour for photographs, however this year it was moved to the town hall due to the gales.
The main procession takes place in the evening with all of the squads lighting their torches simultaneously from flares. This year there were 47 squads/ groups of men with the Jarl squad being the squad that dress as Vikings. The other 46 squads have a theme and fancy dress. They parade through the town carrying the torches, singing and following the galley. At the end of the procession the galley is burned (in a children's park of all places). The costume of the Jarl squad is a well kept secret and the craftsmanship is amazing. This year it was all black and white with amazing chain mail and cow skin capes. The helmets were incredibly heavy and the shields were beautifully decorated. Sadly it was very windy but the procession went ahead and it is a fantastic spectacle to see thousands of men march through the town shouting and cheering following a galley. The burning of the galley is impressive as is the ceremony of the whole thing. There is a firework display after. The atmosphere is great and there is a definite buzz of excitement.
|Torch lit procession|
|Burning the Galley|