Up Helly Aa

A hundred years from now, Shetland’s fire festival, Up Helly Aa, will be the stuff of legend; a litany of morphed tales of Viking lore handed down over the generations

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Shetland. Islands with Latitude

In 1999, when I first visited Shetland, I was presented with a certificate confirming that I had been farther north than 60°; it was a marketing ploy, but I was pleased to receive it – and still have it. Latitude, clearly, was anything but a geographical platitude to these people of the far north of Britain, closer, as they are, to the Arctic Circle than they are to London, and on a level with Hudson Bay in Canada, St Petersburg in Russia, Stockholm in Sweden and Helsinki in Finland.

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