Recently we have been getting around a few of the islands that we haven't visited for a few years. This weekend it was Bressay , well in fact this was the second visit of the week.
Only 5 mins from Lerwick this island has a population of around 360 but with little work available many have to travel the short distance back to the mainland. This aging population will no doubt reduce substantially within the next 20 years and then it may become another Foula, Fetlar, Fair isle or Papa Stour which have advertised for more people to come and live.
On farmer i was talking to said it would help if they put an early ferry on which would allow people to travel up to Sullom Voe for a 7.00 am start. Another topic of conversation was the poor summer, he complained that the oats had only grown to half the size they were last year. Its hard work being a farmer / crofter here in Shetland, the weather always being a problem, except for an exceptionally good summer last year which seem to go on and on.
He was renting land but from who, all I could see was nine deserted crofts, people left some 30 years ago. More evidence was on the beach with many rusting chains which had been used to tie up small open fishing boats many years ago.
On many hills WW2 lookout posts can be seen, and on two eastern side hills WW1 guns still exist together with many more deserted crofts. Most folk shoot over to the far side of the island wanting to get over to Noss and therefore miss the delights of Bressay. From the west side of Bressay you get a good view of Lerwick and all the sea traffic
The north link ferry has been in the news twice recently. On one occasion the ferry had to take action to avoid hitting the Herakles which was in the main shipping lane, then last Wednesday night the autopilot failed (14 seconds) resulting in a large roll where people commented that they thought it was going to capsize. Both these incident covered by Shetland News. We are hoping for a safe calm crossing when we go on holiday .
Last night was the final concert of Fiddle Frenzy and it was a superb evening at the Mareel. Much more music to come over the next few weeks with Maggie and Brian at the Shetland showcase tomorrow, Shetland Fiddle society on Wednesday, then the Asta music group on Thursday. I am also organising a variety concert for the Royal Voluntary Service which will take place in September, so its all go.