Shetland Boat Week Is Launched
by Alastair Hamilton -
Shetland’s intimate relationship with the sea is the focus of a new celebration, Shetland Boat Week. The programme looks very promising!
The first Boat Week will take place between 8th and 14th August and it’s hoped that it will become an annual event. Although the festival is inspired by the islands’ rich maritime heritage, contemporary developments in boats, methods and materials will have their place too.
A wide range of activities is planned during the week. There will be demonstrations of traditional skills, talks and boat trips. Tours of vessels and venues that aren’t normally open to the public will be on offer. Dr Kevin Fewster, Director of the National Maritime Museum, will give a lecture on Thursday 11th August and take part in an informal question-and-answer session on Friday 12th.
Shetland Boat Week has benefitted from generous sponsorship funding from a local marine engineering company, Ocean Kinetics. Financial support has also come from Shetland Amenity Trust, which will co-ordinate the event with Shetland Museum and Archives. Valuable help has also been received from Serco NorthLink Ferries, Lerwick Port Authority and Unst Heritage Centre and Boat Haven. Other local companies and groups are also getting involved.
Emma Miller, event co-ordinator said: “Many generations of Shetlanders have made their living on or around the sea and the links with maritime and related marine industries are as important today as they always have been. Shetland Boat Week is an excellent opportunity to get more people involved with boats and the sea and pass on knowledge and experience. This is going to be a great event for local folk and visitors. Everyone I’ve spoken to about it so far is really enthusiastic and it’s clear to see that it’s going to be a very sociable affair!”
The initial programme has lots to offer but Emma would be delighted to hear from community groups and businesses who would be willing to take part, perhaps by providing tours of their premises, giving talks or slideshows, or staging other events.
A printed programme of events will be available shortly. All confirmed event listings are available now at www.shetlandboatweek.com/events and tickets are available to book online at www.thelittleboxoffice.com/smaa. New events will be added in the coming weeks and the website and Facebook page will both be kept updated with developments. (see www.facebook.com/shetlandboatweek).
Shetland Boat Week would be a great reason to visit the islands this August; it’s a family-friendly event and there will be lots to see and do.
Boats are at the heart of Shetland life, as Tom Morton testified in his recent blog. If you’re considering a move to Shetland and have an interest in boats, we’ve an active and very welcoming boating (and yachting) community, with community-run marinas in most corners of the islands. There are several regattas every summer and our more ambitious mariners enjoy sailing or motor-cruising to Norway or Faroe, which are just 200 miles away. Orkney and northern Scotland are also popular destinations.
International yacht races, such as the North Sea Triangle, the Bergen-Shetland race and the Round Britain and Ireland Race pass this way, and we see our fair share of Tall Ships, too. In other words, if messing about in boats is your thing, this is a great place to do it.
Posted in: Heritage