October 2012 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.
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Since we last spoke…
I've been away! I landed at Sumburgh Airport- rainbows, life affirming sunshine, sparkling sea, and my car battery - flat! I made my way to the ever-helpful Visitor Desk. 'I need help!' I cried in a manic jet-lagged kind of way and was gently reassured by the assistant all would be fine.Mark, proprietor of Sumburgh Hotel (great base forSouth Mainland sightseeing), happened to be within earshot and said, 'don't worry, I'll sort your car out', which he did and then he said, 'your tyre is flat' and sorted that out too. He waved me goodbye after giving me some sound mechanical advice (I think I need a new car!)
As I made my way home down skinny lanes, past the local family owned store and a solitary Angler in a trout filled loch, I spied the cautionary sign - 'otters crossing' and I began to wind down and relax back into Shetland time. I love the crazy buzz of foreign shores, but I do look forward to coming home - the elemental landscape lifts my spirits, as does the kindness of local folk.
Shetland is best savoured in little moments rather than tight tourist timetables and autumn is an ideal time to visit the islands and experience slow travel at its best. Treasured memories await and mainland mayhem can be left behind!
Holiday suggestions for an autumn trip to Shetland
Romantic getaway and guided tours…
Pack your bags for a romantic getaway in isolated Eshaness Lighthouse and book an explosive voyage of discovery along Shetland's Volcano Trail, led by world-renowned guide - Allen from Shetland Geotours. Dine out on a moreish supper of crispy chips and king scallops at award-winning Frankie's, Brae (Coast Magazine gave it a big thumbs up in their October issue). Enjoy a slice of cake at the Peerie Shop Café followed by a fascinating (and great fun!) guided tour of Lerwick with local historian Douglas Sinclair (more about his must-do tours in November's newsletter).
My favourite activity - island hopping! You have to explore at least one of the fifteen inhabited islands - each one is unique and is guaranteed to offer an unforgettable adventure. I always pack my binos for a day trip to bird-watcher's paradise -Fair Isle. If you fall in love with this stunning island, as writer Leslie Thomas did, (he chose it as one of the ten best islands to visit) you may want to stay longer. The Bird Observatory is a superb place to rest your weary bones - half board provided and a great bar! Top tip: visit a Fair Isle knitter and accompany a Ranger on an early morning trap-round. The friendly staff at the Observatory will arrange all activities and visits - just ask!
Spend an evening being entertained at the vibrant new arts hub - Mareel. There's a packed itinerary of events and activities (Cerys Matthews is performing October 7th and Happy Mondays visit our shores in December). Don't forget to pop next door to award-winning heritage hub - Shetland Museum - the Gayer-Anderson Cat is on loan from the British Museum until 9th December and Lines of Connection is the latest exhibition in Da Gadderie. Festival fever is, as always, in full swing.Shetland Wool Week is offering a yarntastic diary of events from 8th-14th October. Why not combine woolly workshops with a wee jig and attend theShetland Accordion and Fiddle Festival too (11th-15th October)? Don't miss the "traditional rave"! The Peerie Willie Johnson Guitar Festival takes place from 26-28th October and dare I say it? Christmas is looming! Shetland's annual Christmas Craft Fair offers a wealth of stylish seasonal ideas from 9th-11th November.
A walk on the wild side…
Take a magical walk on the wild side and enjoy the freedom to roam - this month's choice - the beautiful Weisdale and Tactigill Circular (more rambling good walks can be found here). Drop into Bonhoga Gallery and viewSwap Box (22nd September-4th November) - an exhibition of work by six of Shetland's most innovative contemporary textile designers. I heart the Fly Away clasp handbags created by Aamos Designs and inspired by the concept of Shetland's weather and local folklore -did you know a sanfle (snow bunting) seen in October predicts a wild winter? This exhibition is not to be missed!
Curl up by the fire with October's prize - Real Shetland Yarns
Congratulations to September's prizewinner Mrs Joanna Paterson from Aberdeenshire - Lise Sinclair's inspiring new album - 'A Time to Keep' is on its way to you! There's nothing better than curling up by the peat fire with a good book and this month's prize is a delightful collection of woolly tales and memories from the people of Shetland. Real Shetland Yarns offers a fascinating insight into the social history of how wool has permeated family life through generations. Each story was submitted as part of a competition to celebrate Wool Week 2011 and tales of favourite jumpers, extraordinary sheep and special lace dresses will have you hooked from start to finish.
Keeping things simple…
My perfect go-slow day consists of beachcombing on golden sands, watching flecks of yachts way out at sea and an afternoon spent following the Craft Trail - autumn is the ideal time to visit artisans busy at their kitchen table with new projects. In the evening, mug of tea in hand, I enjoy looking out for the Mirrie Dancers (Northern Lights) - the colourful sheets of light transforming the night skies into natural lava lamps. Bliss.
See you soon!
PS Made by Shetland designer, Esme, featured inApril's newsletter, tells me that her jewellery workshop, situated in Hillswick, is open 3 days a week from October onwards (Thursday, Friday and Sunday 12-4). If you'd like to visit outside of these hours - just get in touch! Esme also holds regular jewellery making days and can be contacted for further information via her Facebook site. While you're in the area be sure to drop into the iconicSt Magnus Bay Hotel (Sunday lunch is delicious!)
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.
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