Sunday, 6 March 2016

Alot of Nothing.

A lot of Nothing

Back in the early 1960's life in Shetland was hard, nothing like today's standard of living.

The other day I was speaking to someone who back in the 1960's moved from England to Papa Stour on the west side of Shetland. A small island of around 40 people.

When they arrived they found a lot of nothing, No ferry, no roads, no electric, no running water and no shop.

They did however have plenty of rain coming into their home, a lot of wind blowing through the gaps, but also plenty of warmth from the Shetland people. A sense of community missing in many places today. One where you didn't have to ask for help, the islanders knew the needs and met them before you could mention it.

Everyone helped each other out gathering crops , building or sharing precious food supplies and especially knowledge. Local Shetlanders would tell them when and where to go fishing, where the dangers would be and how to come through the long dark winters.


The 1960's are not so long ago really, now Papa Stour has electricity , running water, a ferry and roads, but like most islands, people have left or died and with it life becomes more difficult again. Now only 12 people live on the island. No school or church is available, its just a place where people visit for the day.

Its always interesting to find out where people go on holiday, most think of long distance travel but it may be surprising to find that many Shetland folk actually go to other locations in Shetland. We have found several people living on Mainland Shetland spending a couple of weeks either on Yell or Unst.

Other people we have spoke to have never left Shetland for any reason, some never coming off the island they were born. One lady in Unst who was 96 years young said she was totally content living on the island and never wanted to spend any time anywhere else.

Those who have had to leave Shetland for some reason always long to come back, the number of times people comment on facebook about longing for a return is enormous. People said they have the complete package here and that's what we think, we only wish we had come to Shetland earlier.

1 comment:

  1. Like that fishing boat, all lit up. What hazards may that encounter out in the NorthSea?