Thursday, 26 June 2014


This week Lerwick is the focus of the 28th Bergen – Shetland yacht race 26- 29 June with over 40 yachts due to take part (Hope to get some photos for next week).

                                         A few cruise liners even one from Saga on its maiden voyage to Norway

 In addition, many ships including cruise liners are coming into Lerwick providing added interest. The sound of the Shetland and English language was slightly overpowered by the many Norwegians, Dutch, Spanish, French and Italian visitors making Shetland a`` most want destination’’ on the tours this week.


In fact over 40,000 visitors come by boat to boost the local economy.

This cruise ship had people from Spain, France and Italy

                                                                     Heading south after visiting Lerwick and Iceland

Only the other week visitors arrived on yachts from America and Canada. Shetlanders have a keen interest in what happens on the sea, being superb fishermen. If you down to the pier at any time you will see a number come by to see what’s arrived, this is a daily occurrence and we are getting into the habit as well.

                                                                                  Oil ships always around the east coast

Before moving to Shetland we would have to make a 70 mile trip to the east coast to a seaside resort. I have always found a port far more interesting with plenty of comings and goings, fish being landed, they lure many seagulls and of course there is the smell.

                                                                         A superb training ship from Norway

Last weekend the Shetland catch opened its doors to celebrate its 25th anniversary and over 1,000 people visited. People toured the factory as well as pelagic boats Adenia and Charisma and there was also a chance to sample some of the products such as Herring pate and smoked mackerel canap├ęs. We can also recommend the local smoked mackerel fishcakes which can be bought at any chip shop.

                                                                        Another training ship from Norway 

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Simmer Dim

Last Saturday saw the longest day, an evening of activity in Shetland. The Viking were out in force, a normal sight.

At Vidlin the Simmer Dim Motorbike rally took place, a sell out as usual with motor bikers from all over Europe attending. We went to a quieter even in Lerwick, the mid summer carnival.

This was well attended and took the form of a procession of vehicles starting off from Lower Hillhead street and ending up at the esplanade.

A collection for the Callum Younger Reach Fund was taken

At midnight it was still light enough to read the Shetland Times

Tuesday, 17 June 2014


News has just emerged that the Shetland Islands Council has just approved a £500 million contract to build a Gas sweeting plant at Sullom Voe, which will be constructed over the next 3 years. This puts more pressure on the housing market.

                               New Gas plant at Sullom Voe taken from aboard the ferry which was hired by Disability Shetland on Sunday

In addition Bristow has now started a new contract at Sumburgh airport transporting men out to the oil fields using eight new helicopters, so the staff and ground crew will be looking for housing in the south mainland. We are so glad to have got a house as we can see the house prices and rent staying at an inflated rate.

At bit further into the future, the Shetland Island Council is said to be looking at replacing the two existing ferries with larger ones with more berths to attract more people to holiday in Shetland. This may happen in 2018.

Its perhaps the only boom area in Britain, this year more cruise ships are due in Lerwick and with better spring weather than the rest of the mainland (this year at least) people are thinking of holidaying in the north, looking for a more satisfying, relaxing holiday. But ferry prices are high so it may put people off together with the lack of accommodation.

Certainly the quality of life is far, far better than the rest of the UK. Health care is generally better with quicker appointments and you are normally seen five or ten minutes before the time, if you have to go to Aberdeen for hospital treatment the flight is more or less paid for, they even send a mini bus to collect and take you to the hospital door. Prescriptions are even free. There are lots of support groups and older people are not neglected.

                                                                          Seals near Scousbourgh beach

We have tried to get involved in the community and attend the local church, social club and other social events which are regular and this  paid off straight away with information that brought us the house which was not advertised in the local press. The more you put in the more you will benefit and we have already made a number of friends. If you are into music then Shetland is the place to be with many opportunities to play or listen- more of that to come.
                                                                                                     Quendale beach

The only newspaper the Shetland Times which comes out Friday is an excellent read as it contains news about the community and good news!!! unlike most of the daily tabloids, it’s the place to find out events, houses and things that actually mean something to the local people. 

I mentioned in the last blog about how the community supports events like the lifeboat galas, they have now released the figure for the Lerwick Lifeboat gala and it raised a record amount of £10,500- I cannot see anywhere else raising this sort of amount.
                                                                                                   Lerwick harbour

Friday, 13 June 2014

Fund raising

Shetland people are always up for supporting a good cause and over the last couple of weekends they have turned out in good numbers to support the Lifeboat Galas at Aith on the west coast and Lerwick. 

Aith raised £6400 which is fantastic as this year the numbers seemed down on the previous years yet the total was the biggest so far. Just waiting on the Lerwick figure.

Lifeboats play a big part in the life of most Shetlanders so supporting this is a non brainier. The attractions at both included a good variety of music and other entertainment and of course teas. Shetland always has excellent teas and every Sunday most halls have teas to raise funds for this or that.

We are just coming round to the fact that we will be living in Shetland now that we have secured a house. Its strange that the methods are so different, this week we had to produce photo ID and our national insurance numbers. One good thing is that the council tax includes the water rates so we save a bit there. We are looking to get Air heating in the house as soon as possible after we gain entry, there is solid fuel at present and while we plan the leave this in it would be better long term for the alternative heating to be put in, there is also a grant for this.
                                                                                  Longboats not needed.

                                                               The Vikings arrive for the lifeboat gala in Aith

                               The ice cream must be good with so many different people and animals queuing

It always seems strange that the nights are light, coming back on Wednesday from a night in Lerwick we arrived back at the cottage at just before midnight and it was still light, no need for lights. Its just a pity we don't have enough energy to keep going 23 hours a day to make the most of it.

The weather has been really good, the best spring in Shetland for a long time. But with all good weather its the night that usually has Fog as the cold air meets the warm air, this has been good for photography (see for more.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Its not all over yet

It’s not over yet- that is spring we are talking about.

In England spring started early this year with plenty of flowers and insects about in February and March, even some butterflies made an early appearance. Birds were in full song and lambs had been born. Even the weather was good.

We moved to Shetland on the 17 April when only the ranks of daffodils along the road side were indicators of the oncoming spring. Gradually the dark nights receded; the weather began to get warmer and the sun more evident. Spring is around a month or so later than in Sheffield so it has some way to go before it merges with summer.

Lambs were just starting to be born, our friends in Sandwick had just gone on standby for lambing and it wasn't long after we arrived that they had to start getting up around 3.30am to help the lambs arrive safely.
You cannot get away from sheep they are everywhere on Shetland, its ideal country. When lambs arrive they normally come in pairs or sometimes they may have three, but a sheep at Quendale farm had five lambs – it must be a record.

Having seen lambs some people cannot eat the meat. Shetland lamb is superb and very tasty and in a few months we will be buying a whole sheep, which has been cut up ready to store and keep you supplied over the winter.

Shetland has more cows than when we first started coming up in the late 1980’s and these too started to have calves, even small Shetland foals could be seen in the fields. Birds that had been away from Shetland for the winter started to arrive back.

 In April, wheatears became a frequent sight, and then in May Artic terns and Skuas arrived back on breeding grounds. Starling and sparrows started to display and the air was full on Skylark song. Primroses added a splash of colour along the roads and daisy fields look more like snow, such is the abundance.
We will hope to move into our new house in early August, providing the home report comes back OK. 

We will then have to arrange for our things to come out of storage and be transported up from Sheffield. At least they shouldn’t have any problems with access as the new place is near the main road. If we had chosen one of the other houses we viewed then it might have been a problem with narrow roads and tight bends.

Along we the house we have just found out we have a peat bank somewhere up on the hill, luckily the peat has already been cut for the year and we will be ok for the year. Whether or not we have the energy or will to cut more next year we will have to see.

Peat has a sweet smell, but needs time to dry out after cutting, you have to stack it then bag it, before transporting so it is very time consuming. In the meantime is great to have a walk on the beach with no one else around.