November 2023 NorthLink news round-up

Friday 1st December:

Welcome to the November 2023 NorthLink news round-up! With darker days and bursts of wild weather, there are fewer visitors heading north this time of year – however we still have some exciting updates to share from the previous month.

In November 2023, NorthLink Ferries once again sponsored the Sanday Seal Cam, supported a scientific research program, celebrated Purple Tuesday, and even offered one of our lucky customers the chance to win a bottle of our gin of the month – Esker Spirits Christmas Gin. And that’s not all! Keep reading to find out more about what we’ve been up to!

Thursday 2nd November:

NorthLink Ferries are delighted to sponsor the Sanday Seal Cam again. This is a great watch during late October, November and December – when grey seals come ashore to give birth!

Sanday’s Sealcam is ignored by the animals, so the whole cycle of birth, feeding, weaning, and first swims of the pups can be observed without disturbance from the comfort of your own home.

NorthLink Ferries includes Changing Places facilities on all its vessels
NorthLink Ferries includes Changing Places facilities on all its vessels photo © Copyright NorthLink Ferries

Tuesday 7th November:

Today is Purple Tuesday, a day dedicated to improving the customer experience and equality for people with disabilities. Here at NorthLink Ferries, we are proud that we are able to provide improved access to travel, we are committed to improving our accessibility across the business and grateful to all the organisations who have worked with us so far to assist in helping ensure a better travel experience for all.

Some of the things we have put in place to help improve access to travel and ensure a better experience for disabled people include the ‘WelcoMe’ app by Neatebox which helps to overcome hurdles for passengers with specific accessibility requirements by improving journeys for customers who require additional support. The NorthLink Ferries website is fitted with the Recite Me accessibility tool which reads text aloud, changes font sizes, colours and styles to suit specific needs and “Interpreter Live” which is provided by Sign Solutions is another great addition to our accessibility offering.

Dementia and accessibility training programmes have been rolled out across our fleet for both ship and shore employees and we also offer pre-site visits where you can call into the terminal and head on board to familiarise yourself with the vessels and boarding process. Changing Places UK Toilets have been a welcome addition to our on board offering. These facilities are larger than standard accessible toilets and are fitted with a hoist and height adjustable changing bench.

Monday 20th November:

Kathryn Fullerton, Passenger Service Supervisor on board the passenger vessel MV Hjaltland, recently held a fundraising Bingo night at The Cornerstone in Scalloway. An impressive £2130.50 was raised for MND Scotland. A huge well done to all involved!

A huge thank you to all the raffle sellers, buyers and donators and to Grace, Terry, Bryan and Leanne from The Cornerstone. Also, a big congratulation’s to Barry Ward from Burra who won a NorthLink Ferries voucher.

NorthLink Ferries’ good dog of the month photo © Copyright NorthLink Ferries

Tuesday 21st November:

Once a month, for the next few months we will select, at random, one of the well-behaved dogs that travels in the MV Hamnavoe dog lounge. The good dog will receive a special NorthLink Ferries dog bandana, and will star here on our social media! Well done to 10-week-old Rocky on his way home for the first time – this handsome lad is this month’s Good Dog!

The dog lounge is available to book for free on all crossings between Scrabster and Stromness

Wednesday 22nd November:

Every month during 2023, NorthLink Ferries have showcased a local gin on board, and this month it is Esker Christmas Gin. Esker Spirits is a family-run craft distillery on Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, and their Limited Edition Christmas Gin is back by popular demand. It is enhanced with honey and sweet, festive spices – the ultimate winter warmer – perfect neat or with a splash of ginger ale.

To get everyone into the festive spirit, NorthLink Ferries offered our customers the chance to win a bottle of Esker Christmas Gin! Good luck to all those who enter the competition, which closed on the 4th December 2023.

David Wilson (Ship Liaison Officer), Fiona Anderson (Northlink Ferries Terminal Manager), and Avo Orav (Captain) on board the MV Hildasay photo © Copyright NorthLink Ferries

Thursday 23rd November:

We are delighted to be able to support this scientific research programme by towing a CPR between Aberdeen and Lerwick, collecting important plankton samples from this area. It was great to welcome them on board the MV Hildasay. The Continuous Plankton Recorder Survey has been collecting plankton across the North Sea and North Atlantic for over 90 years.

Last week, Ship Liaison Officer, David Wilson, caught up with long-term CPR volunteers and friends, Fiona Anderson, Northlink Ferries Terminal Manager, & Captain Avo Orav. David visited the MV Hildasay, a passenger ferry that tows CPRs on our oldest route between Aberdeen & Lerwick. We’ve collected plankton from 905 tows over 77 years along this route! Thank you to Fiona and Avo, and everyone else who help make these tows possible!

NorthLink Ferries help to transport Lerwick’s Christmas tree every year photo © Copyright NorthLink Ferries

Friday 24th November:

NorthLink Ferries were delighted to be involved in transporting the Christmas tree to Shetland again this year! Living Lerwick have worked in partnership with Shetland Islands Council, Northwards Ltd and NorthLink Ferries to transport and display the Christmas tree at the Market Cross in Lerwick.

This marks the lead up to the festive celebrations ahead of the Christmas Parade on the 2nd December.

Pictured above is: Neil Leslie (Northwards’) Steve Mathieson (Living Lerwick chairman) Jane Leask (Service Manager – NorthLink Ferries) and Edna Irvine (Living Lerwick director and owner of Smith & Robertson)

Header image: The majestic Northern Lights as seen from the MV Hrossey photo © Copyright Stevie McPherson