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February 2012 Visit Shetland Newsletter



I'm Abby 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 or Facebook – we would love to hear from you.

Since we last spoke...

…Mirrie Dancers (northern lights) put on a magical performance - a spectacular light show took centre stage and I was in the front row! View Aurora-fantastic images on Facebook. Amazing! Shopping trips continue to be a wildlife adventure - three otters, playing opposite our local store, were spied the other day! The ever-changing exhibitions at Bonhoga never fail to inspire and the images, featured in 'Sixties' Exposure', taken by local photographer Dennis Coutts are stunning. The perfect ending to a chilly winter's day and an evening of stargazing - has to be a glass of red wine, a roaring fire and a good read. This month - a treasured find - Donald S. Murray's spellbinding new book: 'Weaving Songs'. The rich tapestry of island life is both fascinating and inspiring and Shetland always, on my mind!

'Shetland is…' Suggestions please!

Shetland is…freedom to roam, Sunday teas, single-track roads, silvery voes and tangerine skies. Shetland is…island hopping, rock climbing, daydreaming, cloud gazing, seal spotting, otter watching, beachcombing. Shetland is…fine fayre, festival frolics, playful puffins, museum meanderings, midsummer light, sailing and seabirds, fabulous knits and wilderness retreats!

We know Promote Shetland's community is bursting with bright ideas and we want to share your Shetland knowledge, and love of the islands, with everyone! Get in touch with Promote Shetland and tell them your top tip/suggestion for what to see and do - send a photo too! PS would like to start featuring 'suggestions of the month' on their website and newsletters. Your feedback and continuing support is invaluable and we can't wait to hear from you.

Tesco 'Proudly Supporting' Shetland

While I was away, over the Christmas period, severe storms hit Shetland and I was concerned about the creaky old roof on my cottage. Caring neighbours sent reassuring emails and one friend even managed to cycle in gale force winds to inspect my home! Community spirit is evident in every thread of Shetland life and Tesco has reinforced this important aspect of island life by branding eight new Tesco trucks with a Shetland message.

These 'mobile banners' will promote Shetland as a place to visit, live, study or do business with. The PS crew are always on the lookout for Shetland ambassadors, across all sectors, to increase destination awareness. To find out how you can get involved - visit the Pride of Place website and proudly support our unique community.

Art with heart - Vidlin Pottery

Congratulations to January's prizewinner Mr David Lyne from Chester - winner of the fantastic book from the Shetland Museum & Archives 'Folklore from Whalsay and Shetland' by John Stewart. February's prize is a stunning handmade, signed by the artist, ceramic vase from Vidlin Pottery. I visited John Jacob's studio, with wow-factor views, several months ago and I couldn't resist purchasing a couple of his mugs with quirky handles!

Each piece is unique - clay and glazes, inspired by the Shetland landscape, are formulated and made in Vidlin by John. Prior to relocating to Shetland, John practiced and taught ceramics in California for over 30 years. A selection of his work is now sold at very reasonable prices 'I really like the idea that my neighbours can walk into a Farmers' Market and pick up a piece for no more than £20.00 and enjoy it…' Art with heart - a wonderful addition to the Shetland Craft Trail.

Read all about it! New online magazine launched!

Want to learn about dry stane dyking with Malachy Tallack, go wild camping with me on the island of Foula (don't forget the cake!), sample seasonal island food with Cathy Feeny, celebrate Shetland's unique geological heritage with Robina Barton, learn about winter wildlife with Hugh Harrop, oooh and so much more?! Well, you can! Pop the Champagne, jump up and down and shout 'Woop! Woop!' Promote Shetland's free quarterly online magazine - '60 North' is now officially launched!

We're very excited to bring you the very first issue and hope you enjoy reading articles about Shetland's rich heritage and very dynamic present. Get the kettle on, turn your phone off and celebrate Shetland's new and irresistible must-read!

Read the first issue of '60 North' here

Unleash your inner Viking at Up Helly Aa!

Lerwick's wild annual festival - Up Helly Aa is happening soon! On January 31st thousands of visitors and locals alike will witness a superb spectacle - a procession of over 800 Vikings and heavily-disguised men brandishing flaming torches and singing songs of old, culminating in the burning of a longship, followed by a night (and morning!) of dancing and feasting.

Don't despair if you can't make it over here for Europe's largest fire festival - view the fiery festivities LIVE via our webcam network at Or, why not pop over and view one of the nine rural Up Helly Aa celebrations, held across the islands until mid-March? Rent your very own Lighthouse, bring a group of friends - the experience of a lifetime awaits. The ultimate party!

See you soon!



A new Up Helly Aa book released: Borgar Jarl, written by local author Brydon Leslie, will be officially launched at 2.00pm on 31st January in the foyer of Shetland Museum and Archives, prior to the Jarl Squad visit. The book will also be available to purchase from the online shop, in addition to a wide selection of products that reflect Shetland's Viking heritage, including Hnefatafl - have a go at this Viking chess game - great fun and fiendishly complex!


We would welcome any comments you have about this newsletter, or about the site.

Also, if you have any enquiries at all about Shetland we would be more than happy to assist you. Please contact us using any of the methods listed on our contact page.

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 Promote Shetland

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