June 2013 Visit Shetland Newsletter
I'm Abby, author of Postcards from Shetland, 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.
Please also feel free to get in touch with questions and comments via Twitter orFacebook - 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 online magazine60 North and explore our 'be inspired' page - videos, webcams, images and much much more!
Since we last spoke…there's a new egg in town…
Puffintastic news! The puffin egg has been laid (May 1st) and Mr and Mrs Tammy Norie, proud parents of egg, residing atSumburgh Head RSPB Reserve, are doing fine. The next episode is sure to be a cliffhanger - will the egg hatch? Will Tammy Norie junior leave the nest or will it, in this difficult eggonomic climate, rely on the peat bank of mum and dad forever? Watch LIVE footage from inside the burrow here and follow our Twitter feed for breaking (egg) news.
Did you know:If you need an Auld Rock fix - there are live webcams located across Shetland. Click here for island magic.
Top tip:Keep up-to-date with the latest nature sightings via the Nature in Shetland website and learn to take 'wow' factor photos of Shetland's stunning natural heritage with Olivia Abbott's 1-day beginner's photography workshop. Find out morehere Happy snapping!
After finally tearing myself away from Puffin Cam I popped into the Visitor Centre, Lerwick the other day and gathered area based geology information sheets - I'm planning my next geological exploration to the island of Fetlar.
I also recently attended the latest art exhibition atDa Gadderie, Shetland Museum: Peter Davis - Of Time and Water (18th May - 30th June) - a breathtaking watercolour exhibition interpreting the ever-changing Shetland landscape. Not to be missed!
Did you know:Promote Shetland's Facebook page regularly showcases stunning images of Shetland? If you don't want to join Facebook - no problem - you can still view our page. Click here and be inspired.
I have been busy baking yummy walnut and rye bread (looking forward to purchasingBrilliant Bread,written by the star of 2012's Great British Bake Off series - James Morton), and on lazy days, with so many hours of daylight, I listen to curlews and oystercatchers go about their business, take long walks in my backyard, spend time crafting under the Willow trees (a must do: followShetland's Craft Trail) and watch my cat - Mo, prowl across the fields looking for rabbits, only to return the following morning looking slightly the worse for wear!
Top tip:Rhubarb thrives in Shetland and one of my favourite cookbooks is Rhubarbia, written by the late Mary Prior - a frequent visitor to Shetland. The rhubarb and ginger jam recipe, contributed by local poet Stella Sutherland, is delicious and I'll soon be making this season's batch. Pop over toShetland Forwirds (Shetland's dialect hub) and listen to Stella reading a selection of her work.
I've discovered a fantastic new and easy to navigate fishing (and sightseeing) website:Northmavine Charters. I think you'll agree the size of their catch is quite impressive! If you're interested in tackling feisty wild trout - pick up a Trout Fishing in Shetland leaflet from the Visitor Centre, Lerwick, or purchase online (£2.00 plus P&P). Shetland has over 300 trout filled lochs to explore and many lochs have easy access. Boat hire is also available and it's only £25.00 for a permit to fish throughout the season! What's not to like?
Did you know:you can play golf at midnight?! Shetland experiences 'simmer dim' (midsummer twilight) from mid-May to mid-July when the sun only dips below the northern horizon for a few hours. In fine weather this can bring the islands almost 19 hours of daylight. You really do have time on your hands! At this time of year I take a flask of tea and go rambling until the wee small hours. The light is quite extraordinary and the Walk Shetland guide is always with me - Papa Stournext!
The mystery of Compass Wart….
My summer diary is filling up fast and there are plenty of adventures on the horizon, including a trip to the mysterious Compass Wart. High on a wild cliff, somewhere near Burrastow House on the west side of Shetland, there's a compass carved into a stone. According to local legend survivors from a shipwreck carved the compass into the rock along with their initials. I discovered this fascinating story on a blog calledDesperate Reader. If anyone has additional information about the compass and the shipwreck i.e. the name of the ship or the date she went down - I'd love to hear from you.
Top tip:'tis the season for weddings and the eighteenth-century Burrastow House (great place for spotting otters) is licensed for the big day as is the immaculately restored Georgian residence - Belmont House - situated on the most northerly inhabited island in the UK - Unst. Both are stunning places to tie the knot and/or spend your honeymoon. Why not make the day extra special and commission a unique piece of music from Spencie's Tunesto mark the occasion? I hear there's a waiting list - contact the renowned fiddler and award winning composer Steven Spence soon!
Agent Abby plans a geocaching mission…
Have you ever considered geocaching? I'm off next week to follow in the footsteps of the Vikings. For the uninitiated - geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting game, a way to explore historic landscapes using a GPS or an app on a smartphone. A number of geocaches have been hidden at sites throughout the North Atlantic Region, including 7 in Shetland, as part of the Thing Sites GeoTour. Players seek hidden items by downloading coordinates fromhere. Once you've explored the sites you can share comments, images and experiences with fellow geocashers and discover more historical information. There are also special missions to complete - watch out Tom Cruise - Agent Abby is on the case and will report back in July's newsletter!
Did you know:things, from the Old Norse "ping" (in Shetland: "ting"), are historic assembly sites found throughout Northern Europe as a result of our shared Norse Heritage. The Shetland Place Names Project has published a fascinating free brochure: download here
Top tip: would you like to discover the hidden Shetland? Unseen Shetland offers guided tours and specialise in taking visitors to parts of Shetland that are off the beaten track. The experienced guides - Tom and Michele, can also offer bespoke tours, and their interests include archaeology, textiles, local history and culture, folklore, traditional Shetland music and much more more! The trips are excellent value for money and seeking local knowledge is by far the best way of exploring Shetland.
June's Prize: Blyde Lasses - a gem of an album from Claire White and Frances Wilkins
Congratulations to May's prizewinner Miss Vera Hicks from Kent - Havera: The story of an island is on its way to you! This month's prize is a CD - Blyde Lasses- a collection of traditional, contemporary and self-penned Shetland songs and tunes from fiddle player Claire White (taught by the renowned Dr Tom Anderson) and concertina player Frances Wilkins. Claire and Frances first came to my attention when I viewed their poignant music video 'Rough Diamond' - an absolute gem of a story.
It was inspired by the tale of Alan Leask, from the island of Yell, who discovered, during Da Voar Redd Up (Shetland's annual spring clean), a small wooden box on the beach in 2010. The box bore the name of a New York jeweller and inside nestled a flawed diamond ring… Watch the video here. Vintage magic. If you would like to find out more about Blyde Lasses ('glad girls' in Shetland dialect) pop over to their website here - you can purchase their debut album online, listen to sample tracks (♥ Eagle Bairn) and find out where they're performing next. This CD is a wonderful opportunity to glimpse, and be inspired, by Shetland's aert-kent (well known) musical tradition.
Festival dates for your diary!
Excitement is building for the sixth annualShetland Nature Festival in partnership with European Geoparks (29th June - 7th July). Sea cliffs are teeming with seabirds, wildflowers are in bloom and there's a good chance to spot whales and dolphins! The packed programme includes events for families, adults and children and it all begins with the fun-packed Mousa Open Day - grab your binos and get on over!From 31st July - 5th August Shetland Arts will present an International Textile Festival with a Nordic theme.
The Festival begins with the prestigious 'In the Loop 3.5: making connections' (31st July - 2nd August) - the fourth in a series of acclaimed knitting conferences led by Linda Newington from the University of Southampton Library. This year the conference has a Nordic element and will focus on the way textile cultures may develop in the 21st century. In addition to the conference there will be a broad range of events to attend, including textile tours, gallery talks and 'Meet Shetland Textiles'. From 3rd August - 15th September ten renowned textile artists from Scandinavia will be displaying their work alongside two Shetland creatives in Bonhoga Gallery, Weisdale. The artists will be visiting our shores and will take part in the public opening of 'Lighten' - don't miss their gallery talks and definitely don't missShetland Fiddle Frenzy (4th-11th August). Stay awhile - there's plenty to see and do!
See you soon!
I can't wait to view the fascinating new exhibition at the Shetland Textile Museum, Böd of Gremista, Lerwick -From The Croft to The Palace - exploring the link between Shetland knitters and Royalty. Both vintage and new garments are on display anddid you know: King George III wore Shetland stockings and parcels of lace items went from Shetland to the Royal Court of Denmark? I will report back with my findings in July's newsletter. Opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday 12-4pm and a seasonal ticket costs only £2.00!
The No.1 choice for mammal waching, birding, wildlife photography, botanical & walking holidays in Shetland. 20 years of experience and 40 holidays to choose from! ATOL. 9151.
A magical venue for your holiday - this superbly restored Georgian house sleeps up to 12 in a stylish interior for self-catering holidays. Offers a total experience for the discriminating guest.
For more details, ring Karen on 07909 966161.
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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