Scran season 7: Exploring Shetland's food and drink - and Up Helly Aa

The latest episode of our podcast, Scran, is now live.

Published 9th Feb 2024
Updated 9 th Feb 2024

On this episode of Scran I took the long trek north to experience a bucket-list event, Shetland's Up Helly Aa which takes place in Lerwick at the end of January each year. 

I spent two days on the island learning about the festival and its long tradition as well as exploring Shetland's world of food and drink, both past and present. You'll hear an array of voices, music and sounds on today's podcast. 

Scran Shetland Up Helly Aa
Picture: ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP) (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

First up I met Ryan Leith of the Up Helly Aa Committee to learn more about the festival and the lengthy planning process it takes to run the event each year.

I went along to Lerwick's modern performing arts venue Mareel where a food and drink fair was taking place.

There she met with island producers and businesses to find out more about the island's food and drink heritage and what is happening in this vibrant, progressive community.

Scran Shetland Up Helly Aa
Picture: ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

I spoke to Martin Watt of Lerwick Distillery, Mary Andreas of Shetland Food and Drink, Nicola Johnston of Island Larder, Mark Turnbull of Shetland Reel Distillery, Johnny Sanderson of Lerwick Brewery and David Parham of the Hand Made Fish Co.

You'll also hear chat from Kerry Redfern, a hostess at Sound Primary School which was preparing for hosting guests and the squads of guizers after the burning of the galley at Up Helly Aa.

Finally, you'll hear from the Guizer Jarl himself Richard Moar as well as some very important guizers this year - the first females ever to take part as part of the main Jarl squad, Sana and Zara. 

Listen to the episode in full

Get in touch

We’d love to hear from you for the next season’s episodes.

If you have an opinion about anything we discuss, get in touch with your comments. Drop us a message on the Scotsman Food and Drink Facebook page, or contact me on Twitter @RosalindErskine or via email using

Scran bonus episode: The Scotch Whisky Experience and its career-launching history

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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