New Norwegian Air Link Established

by Alastair Hamilton -

Shetland's long-established links with Norway have been reinforced by the announcement of a new air service that will operate all year round.

Shetland's relationship with Norway goes back to the days of Viking conquest in the ninth century AD and the islands were under Norse rule for around 600 years. During the Second World War, Shetland played a vital role in supporting the Norwegian resistance through the darkest days of Nazi occupation, when small Norwegian fishing boats took huge risks in maintaining a clandestine supply route and evacuating refugees. More recently, the Queen of Norway has paid visits to Shetland, opening the Shetland Museum and Archives and catching up with friends in the islands.

There's always been a mutual interest in maintaining transport links and, for several years, the Faroe-based Smyril Line operated a summer car ferry service between Lerwick and Bergen. Flybe continues to run summer services between Sumburgh Airport and Bergen and it has now been joined by Bergen Air Transport, which intends to run a twice-weekly service all year round, with a return trip from Bergen to Sumburgh on Monday and Thursday mornings. Return fares from Shetland start at £190. The flight time is 70 minutes.

The new service makes it possible for Shetland residents to enjoy a long weekend in west Norway, or perhaps take a longer trip, such as the spectacular seven-hour train journey to Oslo, which costs from just £47 return. In December, Bergen offers what's said to be the world's largest gingerbread town and early next year, temptations include evenings with Joan Armatrading, Simple Minds or a choice of several concerts by the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.