Sunday, 11 June 2017

Shetland Tourism

Shetland Tourism has taken a hit this last week when the contract for Promote Shetland was not renewed by the council. This has been run by the Shetland Amenity Trust for the past 8 years and they did some tremendous work running the website, live streaming of Up Helly Aa , publishing the 60 degree north magazine. as well as running several webcams.- all this may stop

                                                                                                    Scalloway boat yard

                                                                                                       Scalloway visitor
                                                                                   A cruise liner leaves Lerwick
                                                            Shetlanders have a good sense of humour

With the oil industry in a decline tourism should have become a priority and it will also leave a gap for people wanting information on moving to Shetland. It certainly helped us when we moved to Shetland just over three years ago.

Tourists are being encouraged to come outside the normal summer season. Winter is becoming quiet big with several Up Helly Aa's a great attraction and of course a chance to see the Aurora ( join us at Shetland Aurora Hunter) - send a request on facebook., music galore and plenty of stormy weather if you like that. The wildlife is also a big draw with plenty of Otters and a chance to see Humpback Whales with plenty of birds about.

You have to be prepared for poorer internet and mobile phone connections. I recently was persuaded to change to EE- a bad move as i found it has limited coverage in the south mainland, so i soon returned to Vodafone ,a lot better signal

We will soon be returning to Sheffield for a holiday,  just a 21.5 hour journey by ferry (14 hours via Orkney) and road. Not looking forward to traffic jams but it will be good to see family and friends, Skype has kept us in contact over the other 11 months of the year.

If i can help you at all please don't hesitate to send me a message

check out my website at

Monday, 29 May 2017

Counting the cost

Interesting to see e-bay selling a 750 ml jar of Shetland fresh air for £40 - I will be back in a minute.............. I now can offer 100 750 ml jars of Shetland fresh air - job lot  for £1000 (what a bargain)

We all take fresh air for granted, back in Sheffield certain areas - around Meadowhall, have warning signs about air pollution and this will only get worse with the go ahead for Meadowhall extension and a new IKEA

No such problems in Shetland, clean air is one thing most people don't even think about unless you have some sort of breathing problems.

Space for one car bin please 

                                                                 Shetland Bus memorial service on Norwegian day

                                                                                      Bigger than your average insect

The Shetland Times has just published an article about the Conservatives pledge support for the bigger Wind farm projects including those on remote Scottish islands including Shetland. as far as i am concerned this is bad news for Shetland

Dr Wills said `` Some folk will not be pleased, of course, but when they consider the potential income to the charitable trust perhaps they will cheer up''

Alot of folk have said that the the oil money that the Charitable Trust was looking after for the Shetland people has been wasted, why should this be any different

Cute Perrie Shetland ponies

What cost the Shetland Landscape and wildlife ???,

Once the interconnector is in place it is not just the 103 Viking turbines that will blot our landscape but Peel projects will also start their Wind farms including a further 21 turbines near Lerwick and 17 in Yell, others will follow.

Currently Shetland has 5 large turbines at Burradale, construction of these completed in 2003 and a further 5 smaller ones in Yell

Also remember that on Offshore windfarm project may get the go ahead, a map sometime ago showed Shetland surrounded by  deep sea wind turbines

Back in 2014 eighteen companies expressed an interest in building a large wind farm in Unst and Yell, with a small cable connecting to the interconnector at Kergord.

If you are up in Shetland or any part of Scotland this autumn be warned, The Police have announced that they are axing the speeding thresholds. Scottish drivers even going fractionally over the limit will receive a formal warning letter. If they are stopped a second time they will receive a £100 penalty and three points.

Today i wish the police could have caught a 4x4 driver who decided to overtake three cars on Cunningsburgh hill going at least 80 mph, while just missing an oncoming car. If they had crashed it would have also involved another three of us.

Anyway the rants over for a while, it is still a great place to live,  we have been here for over 3 years and never regretted the move. Things do change but sometimes you just need to stand by what you believe.

Facebook - Shetland Aurora hunter - send me a request to join (Canvas prints)

Friday, 5 May 2017

Lambs, BBC and wind farms

 Lambing is now fully underway and where ever you look there are little lambs running around, bleating.

While the very young ones tend to stay close to mum other older ones like roaming around in small flocks. 

If you talk to anyone in crofting, lambing consists of long hard days and nights as they wait to deliver the young ones. Some need more assistance than others and occasionally some lambs become orphans. If this happens one person has to be up ever 4 hours feeding the lamb until it is healthy enough to be adopted by another sheep

Filming is now well underway for the next Shetland BBC1 drama. Shooting took place on Monday in the Loadberries area of Lerwick. and then Commercial Street on Tuesday.

On Wednesday they moved to Wester Quarff and today i saw the whole crew down at Cunningsburgh Hall.

 The Folk Festival has now finished and has been a great success. With many more festivals coming up Shetland is the place to be

The proposed Wind Farm for Mossy Hill on the outskirts of Lerwick has now given concerns to Lerwick Community Council. The Red Throated Diver nesting on Grossa water could be affected by the 21 wind Turbines, this is a protected bird in decline.

In addition people have said that the £250,000 potential community benefit that could come from the wind farm was not sufficient to counterbalance the environmental disaster. As the Shetland Island council has to approve every proposed windfarm it is said it will never get out of hand- if you can believe it.  As far as i am concerned any wind farm of any size would be a potential disaster to the wildlife and the landscape. With the Oil revenue declining surely tourism is the next best thing, people i have spoken to outside Shetland say this is one of the few places in Scotland without turbines and that is one of the reasons they come this far north.

Other blogs

facebook: Shetland Aurora Hunter (send a request to join)

Monday, 1 May 2017

New Arrivals

You don't have to go far in Shetland without coming across lambs. Although many have still to be born, lots of fields have lambs jumping around trying to keep warm. It's has been very cold this last week with snow in parts , not a kind introduction to Shetland life.

Lets hope its a better season for the crofters as last year lambs only sold for £5 or less. A poor return when you consider the price of 4 lamb chops in Tesco - £7. Last year the Italian market which bought a lot of lamb suddenly changed to buying lambs from China.

Last weekend it was Da Voar Redd up, an annual event when a large proportion of the Shetland population turns out to collect rubbish from beach and ditches. Not a nice job when the weather is poor but vital for wildlife as birds and whales digest a lot of plastic and end up dying. A lot of this is blown onto our shoreline, thrown over the side from ships.

Each year brings a few surprises, this time a note in a bottle and a hand grenade uncovered by storms, left from the Second World War. The bomb disposal unit could not come to Shetland for several days so the area has been cordoned off.

We had a great meal at the Fisheries College in Scalloway last Saturday night, a Fish banquet was arranged to raise funds for the Fisherman's Mission. A great success and very tasty too

The Folk Festival has just finished, another superb event which has brought people to Shetland from many foreign countries. One we spoke to, was on the way up from Aberdeen on the ferry when it hit a rough patch and a lump of sea smashed through a few windows. Not the best of starts but she made it the following day after repairs to the ferry

The above photo taken from St Ninian's isle looking back to Bigton, the light is superb throughout the year.

Its still cold and windy but many people are already out looking for Killer Whales with a few pods giving superb views to a few. I saw one pod pass through Lerwick , a bit far away on the Bressay side but still well worth seeing (More at

Aurora season has just finished now we are getting lighter nights, you can still see many photos on Facebook at Shetland Aurora Hunter - just send me a request to join

Monday, 17 April 2017

WW2 Invasion of Shetland

At the outbreak of the Second World War the Shetland population was around the 18,000 mark. Soon nearly 24,000 servicemen arrived to make sure that the Germans didn't take control of these islands or the seas around them.

This friendly invasion of British service men automatically caused problems as there was little accommodation to house them. This resulted in a large amount of building work which benefited the local workforce.

It wasn't just the number of Nissan huts that sprang up but other concrete structures that would provide the defence of Shetland

Lookout hut on the cliffs

 Torpedo launch site protecting the south entrance to Lerwick harbour 

                                                Various gun posts provided the protection needed.

Today many of these structures remain in the outlying areas of Shetland and provide a fascinating insight into that era. There is not normally the pressure that you find in other parts of the UK to re-use the land for building. Some building have been removed for safety reasons while the biggest change has been in Lerwick which has expanded. This is where the largest amount of troops were stationed, but even here if you look carefully you can see the odd building among the houses

I have been collecting verbal accounts from people who lived in Shetland during WW2 and have amassed many hundreds of photos of various WW2 structures in Shetland which i hope to use in a book(s) that I will write at some stage. Still more research to do yet.

You might also be interested in my other blogs:

and also send a request to join Shetland Aurora Hunter - facebook group