August 2014 Visit Shetland Newsletter

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Hi, there's so much going on in August that it's going to be a job to fit it all in - here's a whistle stop tour of what's on. August is the month for agricultural shows, you can watch Shetland models sailing at the Lerwick Regatta on 9th and 10th and sailors from around Shetland come to Lerwick to compete at the Inter-club competitions 13th - 16th.

The Shetland Museum has a Family Week of drop-in workshops from 8th August, the Gadderie at the Museum has the exhibition "Between the Salt and the Corn" by Carolyn Dixon until 17th August and the Bonhoga Gallery in Weisdale is celebrating its 20th birthday with the 20:20 exhibition which runs until 7th September.

The Fiddle Frenzy festival is on 3rd to 10th and has workshops and concerts around the isles - there's an abundance of good music on offer. And there's also the annual film festival Screenplay, which starts on 29th August - actor Steven Robertson is the main star on the first weekend and with a wide and varied selection of films, some made by Shetlanders there's something for everyone.

And when you're in Shetland remember to check local media, shop windows and noticeboards to see else is on - there's always a lot of local events on throughout the summer. Enjoy!

Please feel free to get in touch with questions and comments via Twitter or Facebook - we would love to hear from you. If you're thinking, 'I could live in Shetland' - put that thought into action and get in touch with Move Shetland and subscribe to their newsletter, and don't forget to read our 60 North magazine which is now available in print. And there's also our 'be inspired' page with videos, webcams, images and much much more!

It's Show Time!

August is the month when most of the agricultural shows take place in Shetland. As you'd expect, it's an opportunity to see the different breeds of livestock that people tend to. It's also a good opportunity to see prize winning unspun fleece and the handiwork of Shetland knitters. Then there's the baking, jams, eggs, vegetable and floral displays to have a look at. Shetlanders really are proud of their shows and one of the great things about them is seeing young and old mix and socialise - there's always good cheer at the shows, and it's a time to meet up with old friends and make new ones. For a visitor to the isles, it's a good day out and a chance to unwind.

Each district has its own show and gives you a flavour of the work going on in that area. The Cunningsburgh Show is the only show that is open to everybody in Shetland - so it gives people the chance to compete against folk from other areas. And while competition is very good spirited, there's a lot of (very quiet) pride when someone takes first place in a category. Voe is the first show on the calendar - it's on 2nd August, Walls is on 9th and 10th and sports a vintage car day on the Sunday, Cunningsburgh is on 13th, Unst is on 30th and Yell rounds things off on the 6th September.

2014 - Year of Dialect

If you've been to Shetland or met or heard a Shetlander speak then you'll know that there's a strong Shetland dialect, with many words and phrases that aren't heard anywhere else - some are even unique to a particular area of Shetland. Another thing that you'll maybe notice is that when Shetlanders speak to each other they speak in dialect but when speaking to a visitor they'll alter their speech in order to be polite and be understood. This is called knapping. Again, this word can be prounounced differently around the isles. Knapping is something that we do automatically and most of us don't even think about.

Shetland Forwirds is a group working to promote the use of dialect and if you're interested in finding out more you should check out their website - it has lots of information and you can listen to the different accents from around Shetland. Shetland Forwirds have been going for 10 years and declared this the year of the Shetland Dialect. Have a look at the Shetland idioms compiled by John Graham, roll them round and practice them and see if you can pick up a few new phrases this summer. Hae you a fun.

Oh, and remember to stop and listen to the speakers outside the Shetland Museum and Archives - you're bound to hear a range of dialects there - and some very interesting archive stories.

Sailing

I'm keen to take up sailing again - it's something I used to do when I was younger and there's nothing quite like getting out in a boat to explore the coastline. There are so many different types of sailing boats here and the sailing tradition is alive and kicking.

Shetland is a fantastic place to visit by yacht - there's a network of marinas that can accommodate cruising yachts, and others where you can lay at anchor and take a dinghy ashore. Sailing's a great way to explore the isles, with over 900 miles of coastline and a wealth of wildlife, there's always plenty to see.

There's a handy Shetland Marinas brochure with lots of ideas and suggestions on where to sail to and the facilities offered by each marina. Wherever you go, you're sure to receive a warm welcome and a helping hand.

If you're thinking about sailing to Shetland, you might want to get in touch with one of the Shetland cruising panel, a team of local experts, who can answer any questions you have on sailing to Shetland.

If you don't have your own boat there are plenty of opportunities to get out on the water on an organised tour or a private charter.

Craft Trail adventures....

My adventures on the craft trail continues, with a trip to Yell to stop along the Sellafirth Business Park to visit the Shetland Gallery, owned by Shona and Alan Skinner. The gallery is a beautiful and tranquil place to stop along, where you can browse and buy contemporary Shetland art and high end crafts - you can find work by Ruth Brownlee, Mike Finnie, Nicholas Barnham, Jeannette Nowak and Cecil Tait, to name but a few.

Shona and Alan previously lived in London but had holidayed in Yell for many years before taking the leap to move up. Shona, an artist herself has a studio within the gallery and encourages people to see her work - it's the perfect opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at how she creates her embroidery pieces.

The gallery also offers a range of workshops and if you're interested you should contact shona@shetlandgallery.com.

Competition Time

Congratulations to Yvonne Smith from Lanarkshire who won the mounted full colour print of a pastel drawing by Shona Skinner, who owns the Shetland Gallery in Yell.

This month's competition is a copy of Mirds o Wirds. The book has been produced by a group of Shetland ForWirds members and it is a collection of Shetland dialect words and phrases with English meanings, together with information and photographs, compiled to entertain as well as explain some of Shetland words.

See you soon!