HAGGiS Adventures- Up Helly Aa Fire Festival by Radical Travel
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Head to the Shetland Islands in the far north of Scotland for one of the most incredible festivals in Europe.
- Departure times: 08:30
- Duration: 5 Days
- Starts & ends in: Edinburgh
What to bring:
- Comfortable Footwear
- Change of Clothes
- Warm Clothing
- Waterproof Clothing
Included in price:
Head to the Shetland Islands in the far north of Scotland for one of the most incredible festivals in Europe. For 24 hours, on the last Tuesday of January, the town of Lerwick goes more than a little mad. This amazing adventure departs Edinburgh as we take the hassle out of getting to the remote, wild and stunning Shetland Islands.
"There will be no postponement for weather". That's a defiant boast by Shetland's biggest fire festival, considering it's held in mid-winter on the same latitude as southern Greenland. The weather has have never yet stopped them from burning their Viking galley - and then dancing the dawn away.
Up Helly Aa is a lot more than a sub-arctic bonfire and booze-up. It's a superb spectacle, a celebration of Shetland history, and a triumphant demonstration of the islanders' skills and spirit. 800 Vikings, a burning Norse galley and even a chance of viewing the Northern Lights - simply amazing!
> Tour from Edinburgh including return overnight Ferry (with shared cabin) from Aberdeen to Lerwick
> 2 nights' dorm accommodation in 5 star hostel in Lerwick
> 2 evening meals & breakfasts
> A legendary HAGGiS Guide to entertain you throughout the trip
Month : January 2011
Day 1: Explore Braemar & overnight ferry to Lerwick
Leaving Edinburgh we head North across the shimmering River Forth, and through beautiful Perthshire. A stop in Royal Braemar where we take a stroll around the village, then Crathie Church where the Royal Family worship when at their Highland residence, Balmoral. We also visit the resting place of John Brown - Ghille of Queen Victoria, made famous by Billy Connolly in the movie of the same name. Then to the east coast, heading for Aberdeen where we shall visit some mystical standing stones. From here the adventure really begins as we board the ferry which will probably contain musicians heading for the festival and embark upon on our voyage on the North Sea (5pm). This overnight journey, via Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands, will arrive in Lerwick the next morning (approx 7.30am).
Day 2: Full day exploring Shetland
After checking-in to our hostel we explore the island, taking in Scalloway, the original capital of Shetland then onto the Burra Islands and its gorgeous beaches. We sample the scenery of the South of the island and climb amongst the huge bird population on the hill that is known as 'Fitful Head' within the Nature Reserve of Sumburgh Head. We then pass the ancient site of 'Jarlshof' - named by Sir Walter Scott. Some may like to have an early night in preparation for the next day, but there will undoubtedly be some early revelling in town that others may want to join. Don't forget- always keep your eyes peeled for the Aurora Borealis ('The Northern Lights') as Nature may decide to put on her own spectacle before the people of Shetland kick their's off. Just don't overdo it- plenty of time for that tomorrow.
Day 3: The celebrations begin!
The big day dawns! Save some bacon from your hearty breakfast to hang from your ears later! The morning sees the Viking procession and a chance to have your picture taken beside this years 'Jarl'. In the afternoon we will attend the "Fiery Sessions", a celebration of Shetland folk music and a good time to start getting your body warmed up with dance (and perhaps whisky) for the long night ahead. To start off the evening we will witness the Junior Jarl being burnt which is the youngster's version of the full blown affair. Later in the evening, after a torch-light procession of up to a thousand "guizers" through the streets, the festival reaches a crescendo as a full-size replica Viking longship is ceremonially burnt.
Day 4: Discover the North & overnight ferry to Aberdeen
The next morning (or at the end of the night, depending on how much fun you have!) we will join the "guizers" for a (most probably) liquid breakfast and join them in singing away their hangovers. Depending on how the group are feeling, the tour will head north taking in the Tynwald ancient parliament and a leisurely drive through the northern area of the island before returning on the over-night ferry back to Scotland (as Shetlanders refer to the mainland).
Day 5: St. Andrews & return journey to Edinburgh
From Aberdeen we'll head south through stunning scenery, castles and whisky country, stopping along the way to grab a few more lungfuls of crisp clear Scottish Highland air. A final visist to St. Andrews with time to explore the home of Golf, arriving back in Edinburgh around 5.30pm.
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