Sunday, 13 October 2019

Lang Kames, Shetland

The Lang Kames is a beautiful area about 1/2 way between Sumburgh in the south and North Roe in the north mainland.


If fact you can see a croft called Half Way house, this building was used in the filming of        ` Shetland'  the BBC 1 drama. It is a dramatic landscape with views north of the house along the Lang Kames which runs along side the A970.


However things can change, the peace and quiet disappears as Viking Energy plan to build 103 Wind Turbines 155m high across the central mainland


Against all the protests and concerns, Viking went ahead with testing the peat three months before the CCf decision


It was along the ridge in 2015 that a large landslide occurred, it was estimated that it was 60m across and about 2m deep with clumps the size of a transit van tumbling down the hill. Against the advice of a Peatland ecologist ,Viking Energy said they were unconcerned and that they considered there would be no risk


It seems incredible that Viking Energy still propose to put a road along the ridge along with 11 Wind Turbines 155m high. A few days ago they lost out on a CCf bid but have said they will re apply in two years time.


So the wildlife can have a reprieve, rare Schedule 1 birds such as Red Throated Diver, Gt Skua, Whimbrel and Merlin don't seem to have the protection that we thought, otherwise something would have been done to stop the wind farm.


The amount of carbon released by these excavations will take 67 years to claim back from the destruction. The current near empty A970 will be clogged up with vast heavy loads, a no go area. Vast quarries will scar the landscape, landslips will occur, tourism will be badly hit (Viking claim it will be a tourist attraction Lol)


Its not for me, we came to Shetland because it is unspoilt and would like it to stay that way. Shetland has won awards from the Lonely Planet, but no one in the council seems to listen

`Nature Rules this stirrings setting, which features great glens, steep hills, sky blue lochs and spectacular birdlife. Travellers will be captivated by the islands rugged beauty and welcoming locals'



As stated Shetland is unique as its only one of two UNESCO accredited Geoparks in Scotland, surely these have to count for more than a money making racket.

Anyone who believes that the community money and jobs created from the wind farms is realistic will be in for a big shock, the big boys will want it all.


Tourism is the most important growth area in Shetland and this is increasing year by year. 57% of visitor said they came to Shetland  for the Scenery and Landscape, 24% to get away from it all, and 57% of all visitors travelled to the central mainland where the Viking Wind Farm could be located.

It does seem ironic that the government have just introduced a Peat restoration project, this follows on form a 2017 project that restored the peak bog at sandy Loch an area close to Viking Energy works

In protest to the imminent loss of a unique part of the Shetland landscape, Pete Bevington organised the ` Lament for the Lang Kames' . This was a five mile walk from the half way house to Lower Voe with the environmentalists carrying a coffin.

It was for all the folk that morn the loss of the habitat and draw attention to the proposed 103 Viking Energy wind farm.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Shetland what a week

Its been a busy old week in Shetland. Below was the Shetland entry into the Scottish bale art competition and although it didn't win it proved very popular with the locals and its set to continue in future years




The contract for the Ferry service has now been decided, its Serco (North Link) again, this time the contract is for 8 years and worth £345 million

residents will benefit from a 20% discount on cabin fares.

The upgraded Zephyr arrived in Lerwick on Monday. The 75mtr ship cost £27m and will be based at Whalsay




It was an excellent week for the 1,000 people that attended wool week. Last year 650 came to Shetland so this was nearly a 50% increase. People came from America, Australia, New Zealand, China and even Antartica.

It is said to have generated around £1m , more than Up Helly Aa. While the women went to the knitting the men could be seen out in the field birdwatching. (see shetlandblogspot.co.uk)

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Shetland- 5 year review

Having been living in Shetland for just over 5 years we thought we would review our stay. This was directly after our trip south to Sheffield a few weeks ago,which provided us with a few reminders of what we had left behind.

 Hams o' Roe


Looking back to 1987, on our first visit to Shetland, Diane and I both said we would like to live here if possible. Eventually, everything fell into place in 2014.  It then took us 18 months to sell our house and arrange the move north.

Hams o' Roe

We were fortunate that we had friends in Shetland that helped us find a place to rent as back in 2014 there was nothing advertised with construction workers at Sullom Voe taking all types of accommodation



We looked at many houses around the south mainland and Burra before finally dropping on a house in Sandwick, the place we were very familiar with having spent all our holidays there. It had only just been advertised that day and we put a bid is straight way and it was accepted.

 Hams o' Roe

So four months having arrived in Shetland we had our house and moved in when our furniture arrived which had been in storage back in Sheffield. A few bits got damaged and a few things went missing but generally we got our house in order quickly. Even the cat seemed at home.

 Hams o' Roe

Some people seem to be able to move here without ever having been before but we would suggest that you come up for a trip or two at different times of year to get a feel for the place

So now we look through our living room window and can see the sea, just the job, back in Sheffield we would be 70 miles away.

Some of the reasons we moved to Shetland
 .
The community spirit and sense of belonging is far stronger than down south, the quality of life is lots better, less traffic and better roads, fresh air, less crime, feeling safer, better health care which is important with Diane being disabled. Lots of opportunities to join groups , better job prospects, music in abundance just to name a few.

Grutness

Having been made redundant three times, applied for hundreds of jobs it was great to get the first three jobs I applied for in Shetland. A lot of folk have two or three part time jobs and this works well. I wanted to continue as a Photography Tutor and this was possible with Shetland Adult education (More courses starting September including those for beginners) I moved to people centred jobs, first with the RVS then as an Activity Co- Ordinator working with people with dementia

Scatness

Diane was able to get out more with the Guild and WI, took up knitting again after many years on the back burner and started to play and listen to a lot more music.

WI meal at Scalloway

The wildlife is amazing, we watched Orcas just two mins away from our front door last weekend, Shetland has the largest density of Otters in Europe and has a superb range of breeding and migrant birds to hold your attention throughout the year.


 Black Guillemot
 Common Tern

Instead of photographing for my photo business I was at last able to start photographing for my own interests and Shetland provides thousands of opportunities. I set up 4 Shetland blogs to make full use of my photographs, including this one

Fitfull Head

Back from Sheffield you can get a sense of what you are missing. Family and friends are what we miss the most but use Skype to keep in contact with them and are speaking to them more now then when we lived in Sheffield. We both miss going to see Sheffield Wednesday, Air shows  and Musicals.

We now use Amazon a lot but this is the way many people are doing their shopping. Delivery is very quick for most things and the Postie is very good. You have to change the way you think about your other shopping as it is now a round trip of 26 miles to Lerwick to get food, petrol and money.

Lerwick

You will find the fuel is very expensive, one draw back of living this far north. Bills are nearly three times more than back in Sheffield and you will have your heating on longer. Petrol is more expensive anything between 5-15p more a litre than Aberdeen with fuel poverty around 45% in Shetland.

Orcas at Sandwick

Shetland has a stable population of 23,000 since 1981 which is amazing really . A lot of folk tend to come then leave within 6 months. This may be down to the weather, we were always told that you have to survive your first winter. There may not be a lot of snow but it can get windy, so you might have prepare a lot better than if you were in a city.

Noness

With wide open spaces the wind can cause problems when you are driving but at least we don't have many trees which tend to cause the most damage.

Scatness
Since we have been here we have had winds of 120mph and other days of over 90mph , well above Hurricane level. The long dark nights can also be a problem for many, but there are many groups to join, music to go to and of course the Aurora and Milky way to see in its full glory.

Storm Gertrude Scalloway  (120mph winds)


Aurora at Bigton

Would we go back, No we are very happy in Shetland thanks

More at:


shetlandsfp.blogspot.co.uk (Wildlife)
shetlandsky.blogspot.co.uk ( Aurora, milky way etc)
ww2preserved.blogspot.co.uk ( Shetland WW2 stories)

and Facebook groups (send a request to join)

Shetland Aurora Hunter
Shetland Clouds.

website: amazingshetland.co.uk

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Scalloway

You have to feel sorry for the tourist as the fog has been very thick four out of the last five days. Coach tours have turned up at the top of the Scord to look down on Scalloway or the fog and it was only when the were close by they could actually see the castle


On Friday it was beautiful sunshine and warm enough to be out in a tea shirt so it was time, after work, to visit the western end of Scalloway

 I made my way passed the college and up the steep hill and took the second left, through a gate and followed the road up to the sewerage works

 From there I cut over the moorland, passed the small beach and carried up the other side which was full of small flowers. Bell heath, lousewort and a few sundew to name a few

 Clouds rolled up from the north creating a nice leading line for a photo, while sheep stood and watched this photographer at work, they even posed for a photo or two before continuing to graze.


 The Lighthouse is small and remote working off solar power. 


 There was several small boats connected to the salmon farming in the sheltered voe.

 In the distance and well off the beaten track, several deserted crofts tried to blend into the multi coloured landscape while several Shetland ponies came to investigate this intrepid photographer


 After a lovely short walk that had certainly recharged my batteries a small boat was just passing the college heading out to sea, hopeful taking back plenty of Shetland stories


The views across the Voe today would have satisfied all of the tourists, pity they had to leave

Scalloway is a very attractive place with lots of interesting colourful buildings which remind me of Mull

 Coming back over Black Gaet over towards Gulberwick I had to stop and take photos of the bay.


 One resident of Scalloway a great fiddle player is Linda Gair (Left) with Martin Henderson and her sister Pauline Irvine who played at the Shetland Showcase earlier in the week