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Shetland Amenity Trust celebrates the return of Lerwick Up Helly Aa

Published: 07 February 2023

It was so good to have Lerwick Up Helly Aa back after two long years and welcome visitors from near and far to our sites at the Shetland Museum & Archives, Old Scatness Broch and Sumburgh Head Lighthouse, the latter two of which are not usually open during the winter.

Guizer Jarl Neil Moncrieff says a few words during their visit to Shetland Museum & Archives

Shetland Museum & Archives kicked off the week with the launch of Peter Davis’s awe-inspiring exhibition ‘Clear Sight’. Simply stunning watercolours inspired by Shetland’s land, sea and weather. The exhibition runs until the 5th March and all paintings are for sale. Watch this space for announcements on forthcoming watercolour painting workshops in February.

Peter Davis’s awe-inspiring exhibition ‘Clear Sight’

It was brilliant to have the museum entrance and new door in place just in time for the unveiling of the Harriet portrait. The painting was commissioned for the BBC television series, ‘Extraordinary Portraits’. It honours the story of Harriet Middleton and the incredible fundraising efforts of her MRI Maakers for the MRI Scanner appeal. The painting was donated to the museum by artist Stuart Pearson Wright who travelled up from Suffolk for the occasion, and presented it in front of invited guests. As soon as it’s framed, the painting will be on display in the museum for everyone in Shetland to enjoy.

The official unveiling of the ‘Harriet’ portrait at a civic ceremony at Shetland Museum and Archives

Tuesday 31st January was another busy day at the museum – packed with visitors of all ages enjoying various elements of UHA from music, tours, Viking artefacts, educational visits as well as a chance to admire the Junior Squad’s peerie galley. The highlight was of course the visit from this year’s Jarl, Neil Moncrieff and his squad. They sang their UHA songs and took the time to chat with locals and visitors alike showing off the craftmanship of their outfits, shields and helmets.

A busy UHA morning at the museum with our popular 'Origins of UHA' tours and lots of school and preschool visits. 


The Junior Squad’s peerie galley outside the Shetland Museum & Archives


Furtger afield Old Scatness Broch and Iron Age Village opened specially for the day after the night before and staff gave a series of tours, sharing the myth and legend of this amazing heritage site.

Ignoring the horizontal rain, many visitors made the most of Sumburgh Head being open out of season, taking in the Visitor Centre as well as well as enjoying a brew with a view at Katja’s Unken Kaffee.

🔥 It was a tremendous few days – thank you everyone who came along and supported us.