Foula -Not.

We began our day by walking to the Viking Bus Station to catch pre-arranged transport to Tingwall airport to catch our flight to Foula, an island to the west of Shetland that we had hoped to visit to see the Foula Sheep who live there, along with about 30 people.

However, the weather had other ideas. The pilot explained that, although he could get us there, the chance of a return trip to pick us up was iffy. Getting stranded on Foula is not a good option as there is no shop (grocery store) there and very few places to stay.

So, we got to experience what Shetlanders often do: they live, to some extent, governed by the weather. Luckily for us, another couple was also planning to go and so kindly offered to drive us back to Lerwick as they had their car with them. We had an alternate plan of visiting the Shetland Museum, as did they, so that’s where we ended up. Thank you, Katherine and Geoffrey, for baling us out!

You can see in this photo the weather that kept us from Foula.

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Fortunately, there are many alternatives for us here. The museum is situated on Hay’s Dock in Lerwick Harbor and has fantastic displays of Shetland history and culture. The Shetland Archives here have written records from the 15th to 21st century.

I was most interested in things related to textiles. A yarn winder, sample cards, and finished garments were just a few of the many things on display.

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Education went on even in the bathrooms as stalls contained poems of interest! (Tatties are potatoes).

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Outside of the Museum was a fascinating installation. At first I thought it was just a way to broadcast music. It is four speakers set up to broadcast account of historical and contemporary life on Scotland that were recorded in 2006 and sourced from the Archive. The fascinating thing is that wind speed and direction determine the intervals between the broadcasts. This is achieved by an anemometer (an instrument measuring wind speed) continuously feeding live readings to the speakers. So, if the wind is calm the spoken and music recording are long clips but these shorten as wind speeds increase. Gale forces produce short clips which all merge together. The speakers are made from local Shetland materials of serpentine, granite and shell.

No stops would be complete without sampling the local food. The scones were fantastic and the latte art much appreciated!

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Even the tables here were creative, each with an inset of interest.

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Fortified, we caught a taxi to the Textile Museum, housed in a remodeled fishing station, the Bod of Gramista. Interesting fact: Arthur Anderson, a ship owner and member of Parliament who was born there, became a champion of Shetland textiles and gave Queen Victoria stockings made of fine Shetland lace.

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There were some interesting displays inside and handmade things for sale from local makers. One room housed a very large loom and an example of Taatit rugs which are unique to,Shetland and come from Norse tradition. They were often made as wedding presents, with the families of the bride and groom each making half.

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Outside and across the street from the museum was a beautiful small flock of Shetland Sheep with their lambs. This was a bonus to the day since we did not make it to Foula (at least on this trip to Shetland!)

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A couple purchases from the museum found their way into my bag: a beautiful pair of fingerless mitts created by a local craftsperson and, because we could not get to Foula, a set of coasters made from Foula wool.

On to a full day of adventures tomorrow -some of which involve wool (that will be a surprise to none of you following this blog!)

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Published in: on May 10, 2017 at 9:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

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