A Nautical Nomad

Tip to the north Atlantic day 11 Shetland Islands

Well, hard to believe but another great day weather wise and indeed company wise. After disembarking I walked into the town of Lerwick, a busy town and the capital city of the Shetland Islands. A town of small winding streets with no distinction between pavement and roadways.

Shetland took the oil industry by the scruff of the neck when it first came knocking on its door in the seventies, demanding a share in the bounty from the seas, and it got it, with hugely improved roads community centers and school facilities. The island community also benefited from the money spent on harbour improvements and of course the spending capacity of a large amount of oil-related personnel brought in to service the oil facilities built on the islands.
The Shetlands were originally under Danish rule but in 1469 were gifted to Scotland as a dowry on the marriage of James 3rd to Princess Margaret of Denmark.
During the second World war, Shetland was an important military facility and base for the Shetland Taxi, which was a name given to a hugely successful operation to transfer members of the Norwegian resistance between Scotland and Norway.

So after disembarking and exploring the town I found a nice café, intending to have a coffee and get some wi fi but a nice surprise was waiting in the form of Sheena Wellington and her husband Malcolm, Sheena for those of you who don’t know was the lady who opened the new Scottish parliament in 2009 when she sang “A Mans a Man For A That” So I joined them for some coffee only to be further surprised when Jean Urquhart arrived.

Sheena and Malcolm had arranged to meet her. Jean was a blast from the past, indeed to my hillwalking tour days as the Caleigh Place in Ullapool, which Jean owned, was one of the hotels we used whilst doing hill walking tours for an American company and I spent many a happy night in the Caleigh place, a hotel like no other. Jean was an SNP MSP for some time before leaving because of the change in SNP policy regarding NATO membership, a very principled lady.

Sheena and Jean had arranged to meet up as Jean was now resident in Shetland and I was persuaded to come along on a tour of the island in Jean’s car. A great trip around the island on a beautiful sunny day, ending up at Jean’s home, which sits a few steps from a most wonderful sandy beach. Tea and a good blether mainly about independence rounded off a perfect day. We got back to the ship with 5 minutes to spare. All in all, a great and unexpected day.

Next stop, Invergordon tomorrow.


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