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Highland Explorer Tours Launch New Viking Fire Festival Tour

With recent Robbie Burns Night celebrations highlighting Scottish folklore and culture, Scottish tour operator Highland Explorer Tours is inviting customers to discover Up Helly AA, Shetland’s annual Viking fire festival.

This traditional winter festival began in 1880 and is celebrated on the last Tuesday of January to mark the lengthening of the days and the dawn of a new year. Guests will explore these remote islands located in the far north of the country.

They will immerse themselves in Shetland’s colorful Norse tradition with traditional music, classical Scottish dancing, the ceremonial burning of a life-size replica of the Viking longship and the famous torchlight procession in the town of Lerwick.

“As one of Europe’s most incredible festivals, we are thrilled to invite guests to join us for next year’s Up Helly AA Viking Fire Festival and explore the Shetland Islands,” said Graeme Ward, managing director of Highland Explorer Tours and Radical Travel Group. . “It’s a community event with thousands of volunteers organizing all the festivities and celebrating Shetland’s history. The 1,000 torchbearers in Viking clothing are an unforgettable sight.”

About the tour

On the seven-day Up Helly AA tour, guests experience an unforgettable journey from Edinburgh to Shetland, discovering historical monuments and fascinating landscapes. With a passionate local guide, you’ll travel to the Kingdom of Fife with its rugged coastal landscapes, while also visiting the ancient university town of St Andrews, known as the home of golf.

Continue towards Aberdeen to Dunnottar Castle, perched on a 160-foot cliff on the edge of the North Sea. You board a ferry for an overnight trip and set off on your journey to the Shetland Islands. After traveling to Lerwick, where the festival takes place, customers spend several days exploring the capital of Shetland, visiting Scalloway Castle, the islands of Burra and Trondra, and the picturesque beach on St Ninians Island.

On the big day of the Up Helly AA Festival, guests will join in the festivities by cheering on the Junior Guizer Jarl team with their lively parade before the main event.

The famous torchlight procession begins in the early evening, with a thousand torchbearers in full Viking attire marching along the procession route, culminating in the ceremonial burning of a life-size replica of the Viking longship. Torches are thrown into the dragon ship and the crowd sings “The Norseman’s Home”. The town of Lerwick is in darkness as the street lights are switched off and the fiery glow of the ‘light’ is truly a spectacular sight.

For more information on Highland Explorer Tours, click here.

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