Saturday, 21 October 2017

Shetland Hit

It was great news to find out that from April next year ferry fares will be reduced, however it has just been announced that the freight fares are going up by 2.9% and that will affect everyone living in Shetland.
 We may have to turn to the local produce but there is only a certain amaount of Vampires Blood you can drink in a day

That means that fuel and food along with everything else that is transported to Shetland will cost more, no doubt these things will go up more than 3%.We have already seen a number of items in Tesco increasing , bread by 5p and other items up by 25p.

An increased demand from people wanting to come to Shetland as a result of the decreased fares may result in the ferry timetables being altered. Some suggest that there will only be a short stay in the harbours of Lerwick and Aberdeen  for the ferries so they can fit in extra journeys. This may mean extra costs of hotels at both ends of a journey depending on the ferry departures which will rule out any benefit from the reduced fares.

Fishermen will be hit like everyone else and have to use the ferries to send fish south, this will damage our economy no end.  On another fishing matter it will be interesting to see how the government will police the extended 200 mile limit, unless they barter it away.

The Hirta is our fishery protection vessel and is in big demand even now, the Navy will have to be drafted in to help out to cover such a massive area. A number of Faroes boats have been caught and as a result the boats have been confiscated

Shetland also has one of the highest fuel poverty levels in the UK with the standing charge about double that of England. We have a massive gas plant at Sullom but we have been informed that instead of a new gas fired Power station we will have to transfer electricity from northern Scotland to fuel a the new Power station. Talk about wasting money, I think figures suggest that a gas fired one would be about a 1/4 of the cost and would be a more reliable source than electric which could be cut off anytime.

During this week we had four power cuts, three only a minute or so but the last one over 1/2 hour, this was due to a lightening strike on a pole. As ever the Hydro lads got out quick to solve the problem.

Talking about electricity, the Viking Energy development has reared its head again as the government have said they can apply for a contract in Spring 2018. They still have to raise a £1billion before the interconnector will be considered, only the Scottish consumers will have to fork out  £557 million - `Cannot see that happening'.

This week we  saw a film on `Havera' a small island south of Burra that was last lived on up to the 1920's. They had a tough life living there with very little fresh water, no peat and a tiny harbour. Four - Five families lived close together, fishing for a living. A teacher came onto the island to teach around 20 children, each child was allocated a week of tuition and the teacher lived with the family during this week.

We also attended the  Sandwick RVS meeting when Jimmy Winchester spoke about the 1947 Big Snow. He told of people walking on top of the enormous mounds of snow and being able to touch the tops of telegraph poles, this lasted for 7 weeks.

Boats took supplies to different parts of the islands as the roads were unusable, for the most part people had already stocked up with peats and supplies , unlike now when most people rely on electric heating and a weekly shop to Tesco essential.

Many thousands of sheep died in the deep snow and for a lot of crofters it took along time to recover. Now crofters are finding it tough again, the price of Shetland lamb is very, very low, £5 last year and only £2 per lamb this year, this is all down to Britain leaving Europe.

                                                                 (Fiddles for Adult, Teenager and baby )

There are lots to do as the night draw in, lots of music and other interests and of  course a chance to see the Aurora which has been very active recently. Join us on facebook at Shetland Aurora Hunter

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Burgi Fort

Shetland has some tremendous Archaeological sites  and quite a few can be found in the south mainland. Also see for more archaeology with Aurora present

I hadn't really been down to photograph the ness of Burgi fort at Scatness and as a number of my photography course had asked to go we headed down in great weather.

My reflection
On thing that puts people off is having to go across a very narrow area holding a chain to gain support on uneven ground.. Once past this it is all flat

The fort dates back to Iron age times and is more or less intacked giving a sense of how important this area was. It was built around 100 BC

When WW2 started the area was used as a base for a camp and held AA guns on the hill

Doorways blocked off when under seige 

They are not too large but the two chambers are interconnected by a small opening in the middle. The building would have had a roof

 Some  folk from the Shetland Adult Education photography class- the session enjoyed by all

Even had a peerie dog for company.

Its worth checking out Shetland Aurora Hunter on facebook as we have had a nuber of very good Auroras

Wednesday, 6 September 2017


Shetland plans to have separate bins for recycling, even out in the country so that will affect us. Someone has not taken into account that it gets rather windy and I can see them taking off with rubbish scattered all over the place.

All Photos from Scatness

Only a few days ago we had an early gale which flung a neighbour's trampoline up in the air, the same could easily happen with a bin.

We have just changed Electric suppliers to save some money, moving from Scottish Power to a new company called Bulb. It was straight forward but lots of people on SSE would have problems moving as they are locked in on Total heating Total control - a Scottish thing

For the last week or so we have not had a Laptop having had an accident with our last one. Amazon acted swiftly and a new one was in place quicker than expected, they have certainly been a great help to us and with no postage costs either.

Today we reached 1,000 members on Shetland Aurora Hunter Facebook page  just send me a request to join. We only started this mid December last year.

My photography courses `Know your own Camera and `Night sky Photography are now both full but have some places left on courses after Christmas- search on the Shetland Adult Education website for further details

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Good news for Shetland

I will be running more photography courses for Shetland dult education starting 11 September with a beginners - `Get to know your own camera' course (See below). Message me if you need any further information

If you are going to visit Shetland next year then there is good news. The Scottish government is due to look at reducing the ferry fare to Shetland and about time too. With the Outer Hebrides having a 50% cut the other year, Shetland's fares actually increased.

                                            Multi Coloured sheep - a TV star ?

The plan is to reduce the car fare by 30 % and passenger fares by 40% but cabin fares will not be reduced at present. These cuts will come into effect in April 2018. Cabin fares will be looked into when the new Ferries start sometime 2018/2019

While this is good news for some, cabins are somewhat essential, not chance that you will find us laying on the floor or in a seat over night.

                                                   A training ship for school children calls in at Lerwick

Other good news for Shetland is that a decommissioning project , hopefully the first of many has now commence in Lerwick. Around 30 jobs will be created and the first one, the 12,000 tonne the huge oil production vessel Buchan Alpha is starting to be dismantled over the next 17 months.

Another plug for Shetland was the Channel 4 programme on Fair Isle, the Good Shepherd just one way to get to the island for just over £5, however many come back by plane as the sea even on a calm day can be very rough.

No news yet on whether the Shetland webcam's will continue beyond the end of next month. It will be a big loss to many in and outside Shetland if they go. I normally look at Cliff Cam 3 for signs of the Aurora. If you want more information join us on facebook at Shetland Aurora Hunter - send a request to join.