2011 - Jarl Campbell Dickie

The 2011 Festival took place on 25th February

The Jarl this year was Campbell Dickie (Greenbank Square). Campbell became a second generation Jarl this year after his father was Jarl in 1977. Campbell was part of Martin's squad last year, and kept growing his beard in fine style for the occasion.

The weekend began on a blustery Friday which threatened to rain all day and potentially make the procession quite uncomfortable. The rain came, but thankfully by procession time, it remained dry. The procession looked good with strong burning torches braving against strong winds. The Jarl squad looked very authentic in their chainmail, and brandishing spears for the first time in a Cullivoe Up Helly Aa. The acts all seemed to go down very well in the hall, and a good night was had by all. On the Saturday, the weather brightened almost unrecognisably, and the trip to Burravoe took place on a nice spring day. The concert went down well, and another good night was enjoyed in the hall. A big thanks is owed to 'Da Fustra' for keeping the dance going strong, and only finishing coming to 4am both nights. On the Sunday night, a few bleary eyes were obvious, though it didn't seem to stop the fun, as once again the Jarl Squad had their head & beards shaved in some radical designs, and raised over £1200 for charity.

Galley Name:- Eydis

Campbell's Jarl Squad

  • Martin Henderson (Lerwick) [Former Jarl]
  • Graham Hughson (Mid Yell) [Future Jarl]
  • Robbie Coutts (Gerdalok)
  • David Spence (Firth)
  • Brian Nicolson (Houll)
  • Craig Dickie (Helmsdale)
  • Keith Watt (Walls)
  • Alan Keith (Aywick)
  • John Johnson (Roadside)
  • Philip Jamieson (Vidlin)
  • Viking Princesses

  • Allanah Dickie
  • Leanne Dickie
  • Connie Dickie
  • Bethany Dickie
  • Heidi Dickie
  • Jarl Squad Musicians

  • Ryan Couper (Voe)
  • Andy 'Shakin' Stephen (North Mainland)
  • Callum Watt (Walls)



Squad List

The squads were of the highest quality, maybe the best ever, but many concentrated on local happenings and there were recurring jokes and themes. Squads can be quite hard hitting, it was once said that it takes raw courage and a thick skin to sit and watch. For example Jarl Dickie under went a minor operation recently. From his point of view the timing was unfortunate and he came in for a lot of stick. His henhouse blew away as well!

1 - JARLS SQUAD (19)

The Jarl & his squad including 5 princesses and 3 musicians.


This squad covered a lot a ground but, set in Fetlar, they were recruiting for the film cast. Many characters appeared from Robert Thomson, No Sweat, the advert 'Go Compare' and dinner ladies who did a strip. The whole thing was punctuated by a bugle that played a bar of 'Dixie' at regular intervals.


An ark was the centrepiece with a grizzled Noah wearing biblical sandals. He seemed very choosey about which animals he allowed into the ark. He had plenty of endangered contenders, a ewe, a pig, a prize winning pony, a peacock, chickens from the blown away henhouse but the wirryin dogs had no chance. All of those creatures are a story in the community.


This squad was centred in the Jarls workplace and made reference to local happenings, they highlighted a number of minor motoring accidents and even included the building of a new henhouse for the Jarl. Local characters were plentiful including the 'French' couple that appear every year. The most bizarre character was someone dressed as Brian Nicolson dressed as Cissie!

5 - A FENCE TOO FAR (10)

Another squad making fun of local doings and making comment on the beginnings of lady Jarls. More local characters appeared including a member of the Jarl Squad who fell off the loft of the galley shed.


This was the bairns of the Cullivoe School and they never fail to have a delightful squad. They are super singers and began with the famous hit 'King of the Road' but commented on many local issues including the Dickies love of ponies. Wearing waistcoats and straw hats they danced to a delightful hornpipe but finished with the Up Helly Aa song.
To mark 40 years of Cullivoe School Squads, a presentation was made to Carol Williamson, retired Head Teacher, who started the tradition when squads were few and there was little interest in Up Helly Aa.

7 - BOX SOCIAL (8)

If laughter and applause was anything to go by this was one of the best squads of the night. Three boxes like telephone kiosks with windows in the top half were taken in and out popped the head of a peerie trow to be interviewed by a rather unlikely looking Phil Goodlad.
Very clever this squad with one man being the head and shoulders but with shoes on his hands to make him look like a dwarf and another behind him supplying hands. The antics and the music were hilarious. A memorable performance.


Campbell's soup was the crack here with unlikely varieties like Reestit Mutton, Cream of Dockin, Kale Ower Soup, Kale and Stink, Tatties and Meat Balls. Every squad members wore a suit like a soup tin and this colourful group finished with a dance .


This was a most attractive women's squad in beautiful matching dresses that did a rock music dance routine under the disco lights. A refreshingly different squad that was simple and pleasing.


More talent spotters and this time Robbie Shepherd and Simon Cowell were the unimpressed judges. Campbell's henhouse, Lowry Henry, the Meadowbank dogs, and Gussie Angus were all miserable failures. It took Stavros Flatley and a troupe of topless, clumsy and aggressive dancers with yellow wellies and tattooed bellies to do the trick.

11 - BACK ON THE MAP (8)

The Fetlar breakwater was the subject here and in this I made my second 'appearance' of the night. Along with a well known Radio Shetland presenter I was reporting on the start of the breakwater. Also featured were Councillor Robert Henderson and Charlie Priest from Unst but it came as a surprise that Josie Simpson has a Lewis accent.


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Shetland Times Articles:

"Dey been mony a waar Up Helly Aa night", that seemed to be the collective view of the weather last Friday night in Cullivoe. However just as the light up started the wind seemed to increase until it was a brisk force 6 and right into the faces of the guizers as they made their way from the Hall to the burning site at Stonganess near the marina.

The procession was big and very impressive with 126 adult torch carriers, 20 child guizers and 16 in the Jarl squad all led by Campbell Dickie, Einar Rognvaldsson (Torf Einar). Such was the strength of the wind that not all the torches made it, some of the heads came off and the roadside was strewn with torch heads still burning. The galley was launched into the voe and the torches thrown in. One felt for the men in wet suits who controlled things in the water.

After the burning everyone made their way to the hall and the school to see the squads perform. And they were in for a treat. On entering the hall one was immediately struck by the stunningly beautiful artwork, the work of Ingrid Dickie, the Jarl's wife. The back of the stage was one huge mural.

It showed a Viking scene on a beach with galleys coming in and a dominant Chief with a passing resemblance to the Guizer Jarl. The sea and the longships were full of movement and the location had an authentic look about it, it could have been the beach of Whallery with the Holm of Gloup in the background.

If that was not enough Ingrid produced another lovely piece of art that was the billhead. The bill was beautiful never mind all the clever verses, puns and innuendo, all good fun. The format at Cullivoe is rather different from the norm in that the squads all perform their acts before the dance starts.

When the Jarl and his squad arrived in the hall we could get a good view, for the first time. of their suits. The suits were not as ornate as many in the past but they were none the worse for that.

The most striking feature was the chain mail tunics. They wore blue cloaks and knee length lacing boots, winged helmets and they carried spears and shields. The colours were mainly silver, grey and black and well as the blue. It all had a touch of class about it.

However the real stars of the squad were the five Viking Princesses, daughters of Campbell and Ingrid, they are Alannah, Leanne, Connie, Bethany they looked fantastic and they had the youngest one of the family, Heidi, who is 9 months old in tow in her own little longship.

The Squad all looked fresh and ready to go after a hectic day of visiting and engagements, they had been to the school not only visiting but being fed as well. They had also visited many older folk who were not going to be out at night. They were accompanied by musicians, Calum Watt, Ryan Couper, Andy Stevens and Kevin Brown. Official photographer was Gary Sandison.

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