Up Helly Aa festival takes place in Shetland

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THE famous annual Up Helly Aa fire festival has taken place in Shetland.

The event in Lerwick takes place on the last Tuesday of January each year and attracts visitors from around the world.

Guizers throw flaming torches in to the 'Viking longship' during the Up Helly Aa festival, in Lerwick. Picture: PA

Guizers throw flaming torches in to the 'Viking longship' during the Up Helly Aa festival, in Lerwick. Picture: PA

Hundreds of costumed guizers, dressed as Vikings, march through the streets of the town to recreate its ancient past.

The procession is led by the Guizer Jarl, or chief guizer, and culminates in a longboat being set alight.

A host of volunteers are responsible for the building of the galley boat and the production of more than 1,000 torches.

Work begins at the end of October to ensure that everything is ready for the celebrations, which often continue until 8am the following day, a public holiday on the island.

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