Shetland Boat Week was quite possibly the highlight of my summer. This year was only the second ever Shetland Boat Week, but the committee really did manage to outdo themselves.
The magnitude of things to see and do, experience and partake in was incredible. There was something to keep everyone occupied and entertained, from old time sailors to land-lubbers!
My first highlight was a visit to the Up Helly Aa Galley Shed in Lerwick. We were fortunate enough to have a tour of the shed by current Guizer Jarl Lyall Gair and former Guizer Jarl David Nicolson. I was in complete awe of the artefacts on display as we walked round the shed and the deep, rich history of the tradition. I highly recommend paying a visit to the galley shed and of course visiting Shetland for the ‘big day’ in January!
We also enjoyed various lectures as part of Shetland Boat Week. The first one we attended was the restoration of the H.M.S Oceanic lifeboat by Dr Ian Tait which was both engaging and enlightening. The main lecture of Shetland Boat Week came from Dr Matthew Tanner who presented his fascinating insight into the incredible journey of the SS Great Britain. Dr Tanner walked us through all the way from 1843 to present day and explained in great depth and detail how the SS Great Britain has changed over the years. The journey of this magnificent steam ship had the whole audience enraptured.
For me though, the stars of Shetland Boat Week were Jack Duncan and Robbie Fraser (pictured here with Stuart Garrett of NorthLink Ferries). Jack and Robbie spent the entire week constructing a brand new clinker built fourareen. They were also on hand to answer questions throughout the festival.
Another super event during Shetland Boat Week was Marian Armitage’s cookery demonstration. During this, she served up delicious, mouth-watering traditional fish dishes which the audience were fortunate enough to taste; a real treat!
Other activities included tours of one of NorthLink’s vessels; MV Hrossey. These behind-the-scenes tours allowed guests to visit parts of the ship they would never normally see. On the bridge the public had the opportunity to meet and speak with the captain. They were also taken into the cavernous engine room to see the machinery which powers the North Boats. The tours were a huge success and thoroughly enjoyed by all who visited.
The highlight of Shetland Boat Week for me had to be our adventure out on the Swan sail training boat. We took to the seas around Lerwick where we were put to work jibing, tacking and coiling ropes. Once back on dry land, we presented the Swan Trust with a cheque donation of £2500. This money had been given to NorthLink from ITV Studios for allowing them to use the vessels as a location during the next season of the TV series ‘Shetland’ and we were delighted to hand it on to a worthy cause! (Present were Stuart Garrett, Peter Hutchinson and Jane Leask from NorthLink Ferries, Melanie Henderson from Lerwick Port Authority and others included some of the sailing team of the Swan and the Swan Trustees).
Overall Shetland Boat Week was a fantastic festival and one I would recommend should be added to everyone’s calendars for 2018!
A young quine with an energetic sense of adventure but dire sense of direction! Born and bred in the North East of Scotland with a long loving appreciation of the Scottish islands.