It is the most eagerly awaited night on Shetland's calendar. The burning of a replica Viking long boat after a torchlit procession led by modern day Norsemen.

Thousands of people converged on Lerwick for the annual Up Helly A festival tonight.

Only a handful of the processions and ritual burning of a long boat have not gone ahead since the festival began in the 1880s.

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The torchlit parade through the Lerwick drew thousands of people from around the world and marked the grand finale to a day of activities that traditional takes place on the final Tuesday of January.

They are led by bearded Jarls - the Scandinavian word for chieftan - who dress in traditional Nordic costumes.

Fears that the recent storms could return to scupper the event also proved misplaced.

Event organisers shrugged off the recent storms as the latter-day Vikings put heart and soul into making it another resounding success.

Speaking before the event, Andy Steven of Promote Shetland said it was a real community event which was being improved upon year by year.

Tens of thousands of people also watched a live web cast.