Cullivoe Up Helly Aa began in 1957
A Brief History
The first Up Helly Aa held in North Yell took place forty years ago as a children's event in Sellafirth.
This occasion, held on the 25th of January 1957, soon escalated into an island event, with many people
finding the Lerwick Up Helly Aa too difficult to reach. The first galley - the Nordrcest - was burned
following the procession, which marked the beginning of a tradition.
Next year Sellafirth lost interest in the festival, and handed over the task of running it to the North
Yell Badminton Club. Willie Barclay Henderson was the first ever Jarl in the Cullivoe Hall, and the
Badminton Club was to continue running Up Helly Aa for the next two years.
On the 17th of September 1960 an Up Helly Aa Committee was established, ensuring that the festival would
remain in Cullivoe. A lack of interest on the Committee saw no festival occur in either 1966 or 1968.
In 1969 however, new committee members were added and the insurge of youthful enthusiasm has seen the
festival go from strength to strength ever since.
In order to prevent overcrowding of the Cullivoe Public Hall, the Cullivoe Primary School was used to
present squads for the first time in 1982. As this was a success, the practice continues today.
Although much has changed over the last fifty years, the structure of the Cullivoe Up Helly Aa has
remained the same. We hope that the next fifty years will see our tradition continue to prosper as it
Inaugural Up Helly Aa Committee
- W.S.McFarlane [Schoolhouse] Sec/Tres
- Nickie Tulloch [Beach-house]
- Alex Dickie [Greenbank Terrace]
- Basil W Tulloch [Gronadjeld]
- Charlie Anderson [Backhouse]
- Robert Tulloch (snr) [North Brough]
- Robert Henderson [Gloup]
The first Galley of the Cullivoe Up Helly Aa: