Monday, 30 March 2015

What a week

What an amazing week we had last week. It all started at the Mareel when we attended the Monday & Tuesday Shetland School Music festival (Free) which was superb and shows the musical talent of many of the school children in Shetland. The variety of music covered Traditional, Classical and Blues delivered by Orchestras , Fiddles, Piano, Song and Flute. The festival ended with a gala concert on Thursday night playing to a near packed audience.
                                                                         Da Ness Accordion and Fiddle club (young ones)

The concerts continued this week making it eight concerts in the last eleven days, these were mixed with accordion and fiddle music, singing, and even bagpipes

 Its good to know that the fish and chips that you can buy in Shetland is quality, Frankie's No1 in the UK !!!- Mine a Muckle Fish Supper please

It would also have been great if we had been able to see the Amazing Aurora that happened last Wednesday night, but cloud stopped the best show in 10 years. The following day I managed to see a faint aurora from Sandwick which lasted about 20 mins, in and out of the cloud.

Its a week since the eclipse what a superb sight it was (see more at (

Also I had my first two photos published in the Shetland Times. The first was a scene showing a busy Lerwick Harbour. Two cruise Liners arrived on the way up to Iceland and Faeroe where they eventually failed to see both Solar Eclipse and the Aurora. The second a group photo of the Ness Accordion and Fiddle club (Juniors) taken at the Levenwick Hall. (see photo above)

After some great weather the clouds come in and create a splendid landscape view over  Bressay

Its time to think about holidays, although the whole time spent in Shetland is a holiday.                     In June Diane's sister and brother in law are making there way to Shetland for the first time, just in time for the start of the Shetland Showcase at Islesburgh.  We hope to visit Sheffield in August. it seems amazing that next month it will be a year since we moved to Shetland, but more of that soon.
                                                                                              No they are not staying here !

Even though the decision has been made by the high courts giving the go ahead for the 103 Wind Turbines, Sustainable Shetland has decided to continue to fight against it and have recently sent a letter to the council asking them to debate the situation. The council have said a big NO but this has not deterred them and they will look for other ways to stop the turbines from being erected. The turbines may start to be erected in 2018, this still depends on whether or not the Inter connector is given the go ahead.

                                                         Part of the proposed Wind Farm site just south of Voe

Meanwhile an alternative source tidal power has received a boost as Nova Innovation has received £573,000 to continue the work. Nova developed the worlds first community owned tidal turbine in 2014 at Cullivoe in Yell. This has to be the way forward and would take away the problems associated with the wind Turbines.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Bigton Up Helly Aa

When you are planning ahead you always hope that the weather will be good, especially for an outside event. Before Christmas we planned to go to three Up Helly Aa fire festivals. The first in Scalloway was a great introduction, with superb weather. The second and largest was the one in Lerwick, again the weather was great, although the forecast was for windy wet weather.

So during last week we had a few gales, very heavy rain and it was cold so it didn't bode well for our last Up Helly Aa at Bigton in the south mainland. On the day however the weather changed completely, it was sunny and completely still, this carried on through the night providing ideal conditions.

We arrive early with our friends Beryl and Maurice and parked in the lower car park. We had followed a long line of cars so we knew it would be busy. After around 45 mins, and after a 15 min delay the procession started. Around 400 torch bearers filtered down the hill  towards the beach singing away.

This year  history was made when the first ever female Guizer Jarl, Lesley Simpson lead the procession, also many of the torch bearers were  women, not a thing you would find in the Lerwick procession.

They soon disappeared and reappeared on the beach and the Galley put in position, the torches soon followed thrown into the galley which was then pulled out into the sea, well just, it got stuck on a sand bank at Sleo Clett, opposite St Ninian's Isle.

It looks so good when they are burnt in the sea, the Lerwick one is the only one burnt on land i think.

After, we were treated treated to an excellent firework display, then it was follow my leader as a procession of cars head back over the hill, that is except one car which was stuck in the muddy field.

An excellent night made even better with Sirius shinning bright and Orion looking superb in the south sky

Sunday, 8 March 2015


Getting to Shetland during winter can be quite a challenge, especially during the gales. Often ferries are cancelled or run at different times to normal. If you get caught out at sea during a gale then you will know about it, Northlink say that the current ferries are not quite as good as they first thought in rough seas. So you can always come to Shetland by air, no such problems !

Well I know its a bit uncommon but a plane heading to Shetland had to turn back to Aberdeen just before Christmas, due to bad weather and was hit by lightening, it dropped 2,900 feet before the pilot regained control.

Either way its still worth the effort of coming here in winter, besides the Up Helly Aa there is plenty of music, plays and some great scenery with very few people about.

I love getting down to the beach during winter, before we moved to Shetland we had a 70 mile journey to get to the east coast. Where we live now there are five beaches within a few miles, all different, all facing different ways so you can find a sheltered beach when its windy.

The other day we went a bit further over to the west and down to Bigton and St Ninians isle, the wind was wiping up some nice waves from both sides of the tombolo, the sun was  shinning for the most part it was just brilliant to be out. A lot of birds congregated on rocks at the north side, these were mostly Oystercatchers returning to Shetland after the main winter period, possibly around 200 birds. Some do stay during winter but most migrate south.

It was good to hear that Brough Lodge on Fetlar is to receive nearly £1/2 million in funds from Historic Scotland to continue the next phase of restoring the Gothic building . It will eventually offer environmental courses and short holiday breaks. A big boost for the local community.

Next week we will be off the see our final Up Helly Aa of the season, this time its the turn of the south mainland and this will be held down at st Ninians isle, just hope the weather is dry, the last two Up Helly Aa's we have been to at Scalloway and Lerwick have been superb, and dry as well.

I have now achieved the most likes for one of my photos on Facebook since i started, the photo is a cloud formation over Bressay taken a few days ago, thanks to all who liked or who made comments. One previous to this taken over Sandwick during a rain storm had 324 likes

                                                 Likes  442     Comments  44      Shared 35

In addition I have had 874 views on these photos although its more about Lisa Ward , a Shetlander who recently appeared on the Voice (BBC 1). I asked Lisa to come over to the Lerwick Lunch club last week to perform to the old folk, She gave a great performance of both covers and her own music.