December 2011 Visit Shetland Newsletter
I'm Abby and I'm here again with the latest Shetland happenings, information and holiday suggestions. If you are considering a visit to Shetland, please do not hesitate to contact us for holiday planning advice, using either the contact form on the website or by phoning +44 (0)1595 98 98 98.
Home sweet home
It's almost 3 years since I arrived in Shetland looking for a home. I still recall my first glimpse of the spectacular views that greeted me - sparkling voes glimmering in the distance, the morning sun rising over frosted hills, long golden beaches… The scenery took my breath away. It still does. My rural idyll is the perfect antidote to a hectic life, and the dynamic, entrepreneurial and very unique spirit of Shetland never ceases to inspire me. If you're considering relocating to Shetland or would just like to know more about island living, then make sure you subscribe to Alastair's wonderfully informative monthly newsletter. In the meantime, perhaps you'd like to do a New Year recce, as I did back in January 2009, and at the same time experience Shetland's world-renowned fiery festival? All aboard the Galley…!
Europe's largest fire festival: Up Helly Aa - 31st January 2012
Imagine a procession of Vikings singing songs of old and marching through the darkened streets of Lerwick. Flaming torches carried aloft - sparks flying like tracers across a star-lit night sky, over five thousand spectators cheering them on, and the fiery climax - 1000 blazing torches thrown with gusto into the Galley - to Valhalla! Be warned - the night has only just begun! Hilarious entertainment and wild abandon commences in Halls throughout the evening until the following morn! I'm describing Europe's largest fire festival: Up Helly Aa - a spectacular winter highlight and a must-see event. If you can visit - why not combine the festival with a Shetland in Winter Tour? Stay at the quietly elegant Busta House and relish fine fare, a peerie dram and cosy evenings in front of the roaring open fire. You won't want to leave!
December's prize: a cracker of a hamper
Congratulations to November's prizewinner Miss R Dharamsi - a seriously chic Shetland wool scarf is on its way to you! This month's prize is from Shetland Fudge - a 'wishin you were wi wis' hamper - an irresistible array of delectable decadent delights - ensured to make someone's Christmas extra indulgent. Filled to the brim with a peerless selection of carefully sourced Shetland produce, including Walls Craft Bakery Oaties (delicious with Shetland cheese and pickle), succulent stem ginger enrobed in the finest chocolate, luxurious preserves and the famous (and very exclusive) limited edition Puffin Poo (white-chocolate heaven!) This first-class feast is beautifully presented in a traditional Willow basket.
Cold Hands Warm Heart: Christmas Exhibition at Bonhoga
Discover a heart-warming treasure trove of original pieces - a fabulous collection of arts and crafts and a magnificent homage to colour. All items have been carefully selected from Shetland and across the UK and are beautifully showcased at Bonhoga's Christmas Exhibition (19th November - 23rd December). Look out for Katie Almond's vintage inspired ceramics, Leigh Shepherd's quirky upcycled jewellery range, Kirsty Shaw's bright acrylic lighting, Chloe Garrick's stunning photographs, Ruth Brownlee's dramatic paintings, and for all the fashionistas out there - be sure to get Christmas all wrapped up with this season's main event - heritage knitwear from local designers. A shopping extravaganza awaits with plenty of creative thrills and spills guaranteed. Make time to step off this retail rollercoaster at Mill Café (for a much needed cake-break!) A super stylish shopping experience in a majestic setting.
Great Christmas reads and perfect stocking fillers
I've been Christmas book hunting at Shetland Times Bookshop and Shetland Museum - what a fantastic selection to choose from - many written by Shetlanders and printed in the isles. I now have plenty of gift ideas for loved ones who wish to curl up on the sofa and hibernate. Here are just a few of the books I'll definitely be purchasing: for a rollicking good giggle - look no further than Magnie Shearer's Cows, Cars and Rucksacks! For the bairns (and those bah humbug relations!): "Cheer Up, Grampa Gloomifjord!" by Jonathan Wills. For the history buff: David Howarth's The Shetland Bus - a classic story of wartime missions across the North Sea, and from poet Christine De Luca - her first novel: And then forever - a gripping tale of family ties, past and present. The perfect stocking fillers are at your fingertips - order online - easy as (mince) pie!
Traditional Shetland & merry Christmas!
Carol Services, family gatherings and getting tangled in tinsel are all part of the Christmas tradition, but there are also some Yule traditions that remain special to Shetland, including the making of yummy potato and reestit mutton soup; found simmering on stoves across the islands, ready to nourish all those who visit over the festive season. Each family has its own version of the recipe and each family swears their version is the best! Shetlanders are proud to share their rich culture and heritage with all those who visit the Auld Rock. Magical Shetland never fails to enchant and a warm welcome is always guaranteed, I hope this encourages you to visit us in 2012.
As the year draws to an end - I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all those who have been in touch and shared their Shetland photos and memories via our Twitter and Facebook pages. Your feedback is truly appreciated. On behalf of the PS team, I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
See you soon!
Abby, Deborah, Misa and Andy
PS Our new online magazine is due to be published January 2012. I'll keep you posted!
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Thank you again for taking the time to read this newsletter and please feel free to forward it to anyone else who may be interested in Shetland.
The team at www.SHETLAND.org
Telephone us on +44 (0)1595 98 98 98;
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Or write to us at: Promote Shetland, Shetland Museum & Archives, Hay's Dock, Lerwick, Shetland, ZE1 0WP, United Kingdom.