October 2014 Visit Shetland Newsletter
It's October already! Although, with the mild weather we're having at the moment, you really wouldn't think so. I have to confess, that even though I love the long summer nights, I really appreciate when the nights start drawing in and look forward to the clocks changing. It's time to slow down a little bit and dig out the woolly jumpers. There's still plenty to do in Shetland though, so I thought I'd share a peerie selection of my personal highlights. I'd love to hear what you love doing when visiting Shetland in October.
Shetland Wool Week runs from 4th to 12th October and offers participants the opportunity to visit workshops and studios, learn different knitting and spinning techniques - even make jewellery with a fair isle pattern and watch a film. There's too much to mention, so check out the website.
I'll be heading to the pony sales at "da marts" on Friday 3rd October. I'm not buying or selling but I'm going for a day out with a friend. You can watch or bid on a pony via the live webcast if you can't make it along.
Later in the month it's time to get your dancing shoes on! The Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Festival is on 9th to 13th October and promises to get your toes tapping, with concerts all over the isles. There's the chance to mingle and hear some great tunes in the Festival Club at Islesburgh Community Centre.
The Shetland Field Studies Group has guided walks on 4th & 19th October - you can book at the Tourist Office.
The Shetland Tannery
One of the companies attending Shetland Wool week is the Shetland Tannery, a new family run enterprise which has recently been shortlisted for Diversification Innovators at The British Farming Awards 2014. Natalie Cairns-Ratter and her husband Tom, produce bespoke products from sheepskin, goatskin and cowskins. They're also currently developing salmon skin products, which until now has only been available in Iceland. I was lucky enough to spend a morning with Natalie in her workshed, here's a small interview I did when I was there - but look out for a full article in the next edition of our 60North Magazine.
5 Reasons to Plan an Autumn/Winter Holiday to Shetland
- Darker nights mean you've a greater chance in seeing the northern lights.
- To look up at a beautiful starry sky, without light pollution.
- To experience Up Helly Aa - watching hundreds of vikings parade round Lerwick with flaming torches is not to be missed! You need to hear the roar of the guizers, feel the heat and smell the torches!
- Shetland's unspoilt beaches are even more spectacular on a rough day.
- To head to the hills and watch white winter hares bounding over the heather.
Swimming in Shetland
You might think I'm a little bit crazy but I've ordered myself a wetsuit and I'm going to go swimming in the sea with my friend Emma Williamson. Emma recently swum from Bressay to Lerwick, along with 17 others to raise money for charity. She trains regularly with Ryan Leith, who took this lovely footage when out swimming recently. I'll keep you updated on my swimming adventures - I've done diving abroad and loved it, so I'm really excited about taking the plunge! I'm playing it safe though and going with experts who know the waters well. I grew up learning to have a healthy respect of the sea.
Tickets for the Shetland Guitar Festival, which runs from 6th to 8th November are on sale now. Martin Taylor, the festival's curator is running a guitar retreat and “is designed to gather guitarists of all levels from around the globe with a common goal – learning, playing, eating and sleeping music.”
Wordplay, the Shetland book festival is on 11th to 16th November, The Shetland Food Festival and Christmas Craft Fair are both on 14th to 16th November. Phew, another busy month!
Just time to mention the competition. Last month's competition winners are Anita Burden from County Down, Ann Stewart from Perthshire and Janice McDonad from West Lothian. I hope you enjoy your new Ann Cleaves book.
This month's competition is a Mirrie Dancer necklace from Shetland Jewellery. This beautiful range has been inspired by the Northern Lights (known locally as the Mirrie Dancers) and incorporates typical Shetland landscape and sea scenes. To be in with a chance of winning this lovely piece enter the competition here.
See you soon!