For most people, moving to a remote island in the middle of winter during a pandemic would seem like a crazy idea, but to Heather and Norman their move to Fetlar was nothing short of a dream come true.
Fetlar, known endearingly as ‘the garden of Shetland’, is a two-ferry hop from the Shetland Mainland and home to just over 60 permanent residents. The couple moved from Buckinghamshire in the south of England, looking for a slower pace of life.
“Buckinghamshire was becoming overcrowded, every piece of ground is now being built on, and there are very few green belts left any more,” explains Norman. “They’re building a massive new railway system [HS2] straight through the middle of the countryside.”
“It was just becoming a bit overwhelming living there,” adds Heather. “There’s very little sense of community any more. We knew we needed to move.
“Initially we wanted to move to Wales, but I was watching Whisky Galore, and I know it’s not Shetland, but I said to Norman, ‘Do you fancy moving to Shetland?’, and he said ‘Why not.’”
Inspired by the 1949 British comedy, the couple began to plan their move north and look for a quiet place to live. Initially focusing on the island of Unst, they eventually found their dream home a ferry-hop away on the neighbouring island of Fetlar.