District Of The Month: Scalloway

by Alastair Hamilton -

Every district in Shetland has its particular appeal and, from now on, we'll take a monthly look at what each part of our islands can offer for new residents. We begin with the village of Scalloway.

Scalloway was once the capital of Shetland. Its sheltered harbour is overlooked by the castle built by Earl Patrick Stewart, who meted out justice in the islands in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. More recently, Scalloway played an essential role in the Shetland Bus operation, which supported the Norwegian resistance against Nazi occupation; the story is told in the excellent, volunteer-run, local museum.

Today, the village is home to more than 1,000 people and it has steadily expanded along the sea inlet known as the East Voe. Local employment was traditionally dominated by fishing and fish processing and these remain important. The west end of the village is dominated by the NAFC Marine Centre, a university college that offers a wide range of courses and undertakes important research. However, other businesses also thrive, including Paparwark, which makes beautiful bespoke furniture.

The village has a primary school and a health centre, together with local shops including grocers", general stores, a butcher, a fishmonger, pharmacy and post office. By common consent, the Scalloway Hotel is one of the best places to stay or to eat in Shetland. There's a modern swimming pool, too, as well as a well-used village hall. The sheltered waters in the bay and around the nearby islands are popular for yachting and sea angling, and the village has two marinas. The local football team plays at Fraser Park.

The housing available in Scalloway is either privately-owned or is rented by the Council or the Hjaltland Housing Association. Wooded gardens are very much a feature of the older part of the village; along the East Voe, many houses enjoy excellent sea views and great sunsets.

Lerwick, with its very wide range of facilities, is just ten minutes away by car and there is also a frequent bus service to the town. Scalloway thus offers the benefits of village life while being in very easy reach of all that the present capital has to offer.