December 2014 Visit Shetland Newsletter
I can't believe it's almost Christmas! It's a lovely time of year to visit Shetland, and although it's mostly a time for being with friends and family there's still plenty on offer for visitors to the isles.
If you're interested in sampling some fantastic music you should grab a ticket for Davie Henderson's Peerie Christmas Spree with Boys of the Lough & various local artistes - they're in Fetlar on 5th; Muckle Roe on 6th and Mareel on 7th. You can also see Adam Holmes & The Embers + Ella Bird and local support in Carnegie Hall, Sandwick on 10th and Mareel on 11th. On the 19th Kings of Lyon + support Deathstar Canteen & Dig Deep in Mareel and there's a Hogmanay Dance with music by Da Fustra in the Shetland Hotel - what a great way to take in the New Year!
Food wise - if you can, you should head to the Farmer's Market in Baltasound Hall, 11am-1.30pm on the 14th December. And remember you can work your way through the isles, following the Food Trail and there's the Craft Trail too.
Please also feel free to get in touch with questions and comments via Twitter or Facebook - 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 magazine 60 North and explore our 'be inspired' page - videos, webcams, images and much much more!
Living Lerwick's Winter Festival
Living Lerwick's annual Winter Festival will start with a street parade, the switching on of the lights and music at Harrison Square on Sunday 30th November. You'll also find bands performing there every Saturday on the run up to Chstmas, while you're there have a look out for the special Christmas baubles on the tree - they're Fair Isle patterned and were knitted and donated by people from all over the world as part of a Shetland Wool Week competition.
Each day an advent box will be opened in one of the shop windows and you can vote on which one you like the best. There's also a competition to spot trowes, so keep a look out for those tricky guys - they're hiding in shop windows and waiting to be discovered!
For a full programme of events and to keep up to date then it's best to check the Living Lerwick Facebook page.
Fallen - Don McCullin Exhibition
Shetland Museum and Archives and Shetland Arts are showing work by internataionally acclaimed photojournalist Don McCullin in Da Gadderie and the Bonhoga Gallery in a joint exhibition entitled Fallen. It's the first time these powerful images are being shown as part of ARTIST ROOMS, an inspirational collection of modern and contemporary art acquired for the nation by Tate and The National Galleries of Scotland.
His work will be shown alongside work by young Shetlanders who have been taking part in the Youth Ambassadors programme. They've been hard at work over the past three months preparing photo essays, music and film pieces, so it's definately worth checking out. I'll be catching up with some of the Youth Ambassadors and the organisers in next month's newsletter, so watch this space - but in the meantime you can follow their progress on their Facebook page
The exhibition is on until 22nd February, so there's plenty of time to visit and to make it easy for visitors to get to both locations a shuttle bus will operate between the Shetland Museum and Bonhoga in Weisdale.
My Top 5 Festive Traditions
There's no escaping that Shetlanders like dressing up and having fun and there's a long tradition of guizing in Shetland. At Christmas time children used to wear a skekklers costume made of straw, visit nearby houses and sing and dance. In some places of Shetland the tradition of guizing still goes on today, although the costumes are more modern and comfortable now - so don't be surprised if you see folk in fancy dress! I love it so much it made it into my Top 5 festive traditions!
1. Double Celebrations! Some people on Foula (16 miles West of the Shetland mainland) still celebrate "old" Christmas and New Year on the 5th and 12th January.
2. Reestit mutton tattie soup. It's made from mutton that's been soaked in brine and air dried - it's unique, and some people find it an acquired taste. Everyone has their own special way of making it but I found Martin Wishart's recipe online. Let me know what you think of it.
3. Guizing - bairns dress up and go round the houses on Christmas Eve, adults do the rounds on New Year's Day. We also go round the houses on Hogmany but tend to go in ordinary clothes!
4. New Year's walk (I love it if I spot a winter hare). Check out Walk Shetland for some really great routes.
5. Planning my summer holiday - to find more inspiration for your summer holiday to Shetland have a look at all the ideas on the Promote Shetland website.
There's so many things I love about Christmas and New Year in Shetland. I should've had a Top 10 so I could mention board games (have you played the Up Helly Aa game?), knitting (Shetland wool is the best!) and preparing for next month's Up Helly Aa!
What traditions do you like?
Congratulations to Marjorie from Canada for winning last month's competition. The Shetland Christmas cards by Monica Pothecary are on their way to you now.
We're feeling very generous this month and are giving away a stunning print of the Northern Lights over Mousa Broch by D M Woodhouse Fine Art. Donna Marie Woodhouse is an artist who uses the isles ever changing qualities of light, its seascapes and landscapes to inspire her paintings. The Giclee Print (16 x 20 inches) is finished, mounted, hand-signed and just ready to be framed.
See you soon!
If you're still looking for that perfect last minute Christmas present, then you can buy a subscription for our fantastic 60North Magazine.
Before I go, I have to say that I'm beyond excited about a new event next year - Shetland Noir, the first Shetland Crime Writing Festival. It's on from 13th to 15th November but you can make savings now by booking an early bird ticket.
I hope that you have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!