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Page last updated at 17:15 GMT, Tuesday, 26 January 2010
East Yorkshire Viking on parade
Viking parade
The event takes place every January in Lerwick.

The Up Helly Aa event in Lerwick features a torchlight parade, culminating with the burning of a full-sized Viking longboat.

Usually someone must have lived on Shetland for more than 15 years to be part of the Jarl Squad, the main team in the procession.

Stephen Lamming from Cottingham moved to the Scottish island four years ago and has been given special dispensation to take part.

The annual event began in the 1880s and attracts thousands of tourists. The parade is led by a ceremonial Viking chief called the Guizer Jarl.

He is pulled along the streets of Lerwick in a longboat accompanied by his warriors, the Jarl Squad.

Stephen lamming with his costume
Stephen Lamming has made his own Viking costume.

Each squad member designs and makes his own costume and carries a special shield. Other squads join the procession and up to a thousand men march through the town carrying flaming torches singing a traditional Viking song.

At the end of the procession the longboat is burnt to send it on his way to Valhalla.

Stephen Lamming, who works as an off-shore diver, said he is looking forward to the night's events:

"It's quite an honour, and for somebody who wasn't even born on Shetland it is an even bigger honour. It's very exciting and very daunting I have to say. There is a lot of responsibility that comes with it."

Stephen's parents have travelled up from Cottingham to see their son take part in the parade.

Watch: Up Helly Aa Festival
27 Jan 10 |  Highlands and Islands



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