Lerwick, Shetlands

2024, International, Scotland

It wasn’t that long ago that the idea of visiting the Shetland Islands was nothing more than a pipe dream but today we got to at least spend a few hours exploring Lerwick, Scotland, the capital city of the Shetlands. In this port the ship is anchored out in the harbor and we got to ride in one of the lifeboats to arrive at the quay in downtown.  From there intended to set off for a self-guided walking tour. What we weren’t quite prepared for is that many places are closed on Sunday morning so along with a cadre of other passengers we visited the Tourist Centre where we got a list of places that we might visit and a tourist map as well as the location of a local yarn shop which was our next stop. There at Loose Ends we had a most delightful conversation with Dee, the owner and learned about the variations of Shetland sheep and about some of the local crofts that raise the sheep and produce wonderful organic Shetland wool We came away with ten skeins to for a future knitted or woven project. As we continued to wander we paused to chat with a local who was commenting to a friend that there were an awful lot of people in town today. From him we learned that the people of the Shetlands identify more with the Norwegian culture than with the Scottish, that the islands were a royal wedding dowry and a part of Scotland only since 1469.  From there we made our way to Fort Charlotte, named as such when it was rebuilt in during the War for American Independence but the fort has stood guard over Bressay Sound for 350 years since the Second Dutch War. It affords fabulous views of the town and the harbour. Next we wandered one of the neighborhoods and walked through the King George V Play Park where families were out enjoying the beautiful weather. Next we headed to the Shetland Museum and Archives where we immersed ourselves in the geology, archaeology, and history of these remote islands. Did we mention that textile arts play a big role in Shetland culture? On the way back to the ship we paused for a cultural experience, lunch at C’est La Vie, a French cafe where we enjoyed Croque Monsieurs and coffee. Yes, this is a place to which we will yearn to return.

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