Skipper´s Blog from Lerwick, Shetland Islands

Apart from moving the boat around between Albert dock and Victoria Pier in order to make room for the soon-to-arrive 36 boats arriving from Bergen in the Bergen-Shetland-Bergen race, we have been enjoying Lerwick, company of friends, and even going further afield today.

First stop on Wednesday morning was the wonderful museum in Hays Wharf, completed about 20 years ago, and opened by Queen Sonja of Norway. Queen Sonja has also privately visited Scalloway Museum, where memorabilia, artefacts and stories from the Shetland Bus exploits are kept. We spent a few hours there, and all enjoyed it, considering that it had something of interest for all ages, and many things of particular interest con kerning the Nordic connection.

Thomas, Hege and the girls then went for a late lunch of fish and chips, while Skip went shopping for dinner, visiting Jamiesons the butcher and the Coop. A special effort was needed because Karen was supposed to join us from Bergen, and Claire White of ´Blythe Lassies´and her husband Michael were joining us all for a meal and conversation. Claire visited us in Norway with the team from BBC Scotland a few years ago to interview me on land reform in Norway and Scotland and related matters. The team came to have a meal with us and guests in Kilehagen, after which we had a great session, with Swedish and Norwegian fiddlers, friends of Karen´s, and Claire, who also brought her fiddle. The team recorded it, and part was used as background music in the programme. Claire was also a student of mine briefly at Aberdeen.

Michael is one of the band of true Shetlanders who build the viking ships, helmets, and weaponry for the annual Up-Hella-Å fire festival, commemorating Shetland´s Viking connection. Harald I, also know as Harald Fairhair, or Finehair, died about 940, and was the first king to claim sovereignty over all Norway. He was one of the greatest of the 9th-century Scandinavian warrior chiefs, even if his control was patchy. Lerwick even has a King Harald Street to commemorate his involvement in settling conflict between Viking pirates on the Shetland Islands, and ensuring that the islands were part of Norway.IMG_4159

Alas, Karen´s Loganair flight from Bergen to Shetland was cancelled due to fog at Sumburgh airport, but Claire and Michael came along and we all got a great deal of information, as well as good conversation. After the meal Claire interviewed Selma and Skip for Shetland radio. Michael´s mother is also a well-known Scalloway knitter, among many other things (such as Michaels favourite bonnet) knitting the ´Betty Mouat´sweater for the video to accompany Claire´s forthcoming CD of songs about notable Shetland women.


Photo of Skipper with Michael and Claire. Yes, that IS water in their glasses!

On Thursday morning Thomas and I got up early to move the boat into the berth along the Albert pier wall soon to be vacated by the sailing boat Swan, but at Hays Yard in 1900. Swan is off to the wooden boat festival at Portsoy in NE Scotland this weekend. It was a beautiful bright, warm and sunny morning. No sign of mist at all! After hanging about a bit with a coffee, we managed to get to the spot and settle in for some breakfast. The crew hired a car for two days and headed off to explore Shetland, while Skip went to the fishmonger to get fish for dinner, and other bits and pieces from Tesco, on the way back from the Fishmonger (by bike). Tescos is close to the Broch at Clickimin Loch.  Karen´s flight from Bergen duly arrived around 3pm, and she found her way to the boat. She and Hege  are off this weaving to a knitting Session at Scalloway museum, where they will also meet Michael´s mother and father (who was one of those who started the Museum). so it will be a late fish dinner!

Signing off for now to start cooking!



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