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Special interest holidays
|Price range||From £575|
|Travel partner||Brightwater Holidays|
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Up Helly Aa Viking Festival
- 2 nights dinner, bed and full breakfast at the Sumburgh Hotel, Shetland (or similar)
- 2 nights accommodation in 2-berth cabins on Northlink Ferries Hrossey or Hjaltland with dinner and full breakfast.
- All cabins have private facilities.
- Outside cabins are available on request for a small supplement.
- Comfortable coaching throughout.
- Two full day guided coach tours of mainland Shetland and the islands of Yell and Unst, including all ferries (weather permitting) and entrance to Jarlshof
- Free day in Lerwick to enjoy the events of Up Helly Aa.
We depart from our designated departure points and travel to Aberdeen where we will join the Northlink ferry (Hrossey or Hjaltland) for the 1700 hrs overnight sailing to Lerwick. Accommodation is provided in comfortable 2-berth cabins with en-suite facilities. Dinner is served on board in the evening.
Day 2 Monday
We arrive early in the morning at Lerwick and after our full Scottish breakfast on board we will depart on a full day tour which begins with a visit to Scalloway, the original capital of Shetland. The castle built by Earl Patrick Stewart (not a man you would want to have crossed) still dominates the skyline. More recently Scalloway was the secret base for the heroes of the Norwegian Resistance and the wartime exploits of the ‘Shetland Bus’ form a courageous memoir. Later we head for the south of Mainland Shetland, where we visit the outstanding Prehistoric and Norse Settlement of Jarlshof, with over 3 acres of remains, spanning 3000 years since the days of the Stone Age, including oval shaped bronze age houses, iron age broch and wheel houses, Viking long houses and medieval farmhouses. We continue to Sumburgh Head, the southern tip of mainland Shetland, which is an RSPB reserve and home to thousands of nesting birds, including puffins, kittiwakes and razorbills. From here it is a short journey to our comfortable accommodation at the Sumburgh Hotel (or similar), where dinner is served in the evening. For those who want to be in the heart of it all, we have a limited number of rooms available at a supplement at the Shetland Hotel, located in Lerwick. All rooms are en-suite with telephone, TV, tea and coffee making facilities.
Day 3 Tuesday
After breakfast this morning we depart for Lerwick, which you are free to explore at your leisure and view the various activities associated with the Up Helly Aa festival which takes place today. Keep an eye out for the various ‘squads’ of ‘guizers’ – groups of about 20 men who choose a theme and dress up as whatever takes their fancy each year. Only one squad, a different one every year, is allowed to dress up as Vikings and are known as ‘jarls’, the Viking term for Earl. As darkness falls (mid-afternoon at this time of year) the squads begin to assemble for the torchlight parade and eventually a procession of 1,000 men snakes its way through the streets carrying aloft flaming brands of paraffin-soaked hessian and carrying the superbly crafted galley which will then be ceremoniously burned in the spectacular finale to the day’s events. We then return to our hotel.
Day 4 Wednesday
After a leisurely breakfast we depart for a full day tour which, weather permitting, will take us to the northern isles of Yell and Unst. We travel north through Tingwall and Girlsta and past the oil terminal at Sullom Voe, which has transformed life in Shetland over the last 25 years, before arriving at Toft, where the ferry departs for the island of Yell. After a 15-minute crossing we travel across Yell to Gutcher at the north end of the island. After a refreshment stop we make another short ferry crossing to the island of Unst. Here we visit Muness Castle before driving north to Baltasound, our lunch stop. After lunch (not included) we continue northwards again, (about as far north as it is possible to travel by coach in the British Isles) and enjoy the marvellous views from Saxavord Hill. Our return route takes us via East Yell and Burravoe. Back at Lerwick we will re-join our ship, which sails at 1730 hrs for Aberdeen. Dinner is served on board.
Day 5 Thursday
After breakfast on board we will disembark in Aberdeen at around 0900 hours. We will then return to the original pick up points, where we anticipate arriving late morning/early afternoon.
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