Monday, 25 December 2017

Father Christmas arrives

Hope you are all having a great Christmas, its been still and mild in Shetland which is a change.

Father Christmas gives us a pre Christmas visit just to see how many houses survived the Hurricane which struck the other week

What looks like the Christmas star over St Ninian's tombolo, in fact its the moon

A season of good will to all and i took this photo of a cheque being presented to Walter & Joan care home in Scalloway from the Shetland Women's Guild. More good will from all those who made a contribution towards fire damage to a Lerwick house which caught fire, no one injured but house a mess. Donations reached almost $12000 on Christmas eve, Shetland people never cease to amaze me.

Will be back in the New year so in the meantime have a good new year. In the meantime check out Shetland Aurora Hunter on facebook

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Storm Caroline hits

Finally managed to get my canvas and mounted prints on sale at Hoswick Visitor centre after about a years wait. The centre is open in winter Wednesday - Saturday 11.00 - 15.00pm. Do pop down for a look, the canvas prints are displayed up stairs and the mounted prints downstairs. For a bigger choice see

At this time of year the skies can be very dramatic and the one below was taken the other afternoon in Lerwick

The first snow fell a few days ago and created quiet a nice scene in Scalloway. Lucky the roads stayed cleared, more or less.

Below the sun going down at Scatness, also a good walk and no one else around.

I have just bought a Lens sphere from America, it really does pick up the landscape very well and i hope to use this to capture more scene very shortly

The winter light may only last a few hours but the low light is excellent for photography. On a cold wet day it was only just light from 10.00- 1.30

Shetland is one of the best places for seeing rainbows, they are so vivid and often a double rainbow

Storm Caroline hit Shetland on Thursday7 December bringing winds of up to 106mph but the snow didn't arrive as expected. We did however have a power cut that lasted over 6 hours. The Hydro lads were out and solved the problems as soon as it was safe

The next day we found slates all over the place, one had hit our car and chipped the paintwork in several places. Next door had a large hole in the roof and they only found it when they returned from work in the morning. Several other houses nearby also had damaged roofs and one found their hen house upside down and no hens about.

Further away in the north of Shetland a road was blocked near Hillswick when a building collapsed. Ferries had been cancelled Thursday and Friday which means no food will be transported up until Monday- anyone moving up will have to take all this into account

After the storm came the snow and ice, not too much snow but plenty of black ice. Black Gaet is always a bad place for ice and the police closed the road after 8 vehicles had difficulties. 

Although ferry fares are to reduce next year freight fares will increase by 2.9% which will affect everything being transported to Shetland so get ready for a price rise on fuel and food

Sunday, 26 November 2017


You can tell we are in the throws of winter with frequent gales, which has affected the ferries with a couple cancelled already.  This in turn will hit Tesco and we shall see empty shelves once again.

With Shetland trying to attract tourists in winter they will have to have flexible travel arrangements.  The attraction which brings most tourists to Shetland is Up Helly Aa season which starts in January in Lerwick  and ending March.

The Aurora is another attraction and we have had some superb displays so far this season (Sept - April) - join Shetland Aurora Hunter on facebook for more information. Music has to be another with frequent sessions at lots of venues. We recently went to the Mareel to see the Shetland Mandolin Band, the sound of 26 Mandolins is something to savour.

While most people come to see the Autumn migration there is still plenty to see, not just birds but whales as well. Only last week we watched a mother and calf Humpback Whales for a good two hours and they stayed around all week before moving up to Yell. Killer whales also sighted in a few places , the most impressive was a pod of 50+ from a boat.

Now at this time of year, it wouldn't suit me to be out in rough seas but the Shetlanders are renown for their seamanship skills and are often out even in small boats.

The most interesting news this  week was that Unst may be in line to become a satellite launch site. It seems that this , one of three may be the ideal location and it would be a boost to the local economy.

The RAF recently moved back to Saxavord with a new radar base so it would be sensible to have it there. The only draw back is that many European flights go over Unst heading for America.

A few days ago I headed out to Fethaland, right up in the north mainland, a place I have wanted to go to for along time.

I picked a good day, dry and still in between gales, a good job as this is a 6 mile walk. This area was recently up for sale for £595,000, this is a large area which once had a Fishing station but was abandoned in 1906. This whole area is a SSSI and is superb not just for the scenery but the wildlife as well.

Lerwick Power Station closure has been postponed until at least 2025 which might not mean much but this was not the right way to go ahead with a proposed multi million pound cable from northern Scotland.

People are saying this could pave the way for the Viking Energy windfarm, this is over 100 wind turbines, connected to the interconnector which could import and export electricity. I think that they have found out the cost and problems associated with a cable and would want someone else to pay. The application for The Contract for Difference is available from 2019 again I would not like this to take place and ruin the Shetland Landscape.

Talking of landscapes, I will be selling Shetland landscapes and wildlife photos on canvas and as prints at Hoswick Visitors centre from next week. Hope you can get along and see them.

This week I also had a colour photo printed in the Shetland Times- this was a photo of Scatness using a LenSphere a new gadget I have acquired from America.

Shetland Aurora Hunter is one year old and has 1546 members which is a superb, good to know that so many people are interested in seeing the Aurora. Join us on Facebook

all photos from Fethaland

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