Your Amazing Race: Outlanders in the Shetland Islands

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Credit: Anne Burgess [



via Wikimedia Commons

Time for a Detour

Racers were given two options to either Pony Up or Light My Fire. I could be way off base here readers, but I don’t think any of you particularly want to recreate the task of peat digging while on vacation. If you do, I’m sure you can mosey right up to a peat pit and ask the diggers if they’d like an extra hand. The ponies on the other hand may be a draw. The Shetland website has a great article on where to see this breed while visiting the islands.

Lighting a Fire at a Viking Festival

The option that some of you may want to partake in would be the Viking reenactments. Being from the South myself, I am used to events like this centered around the Civil War. To others this many seem like an ancient version of Comic Con.

The Shetland Islands have a lot of pride in their Scandinavian heritage and their Viking roots. On the last Tuesday in January each year the Islands host Up Helly Aa, a large viking festival that has been held since the 1880s in Lerwick. Over the past 100-plus years, the celebration has only been cancelled or postponed due to war or the death of a monarch. So, if you make plans to participate, rest assured that nothing stops these Viking enthusiasts from from getting their Olaf on. The day’s proceedings include a parade and many photo opportunities and finish with a Burning of the Galley. A replica viking ship is set ablaze to finish off the day’s celebrations.