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Simon King safari

WELL known wildlife broadcaster Simon King has put his seal of approval on the Saxa Vord holiday resort, in Unst, after deciding to base his “Ultimate Shetland Safari 2011” at the former RAF station.

The resort, on the most northerly island in the British Isles, has had its busiest year yet since owners Frank and Debbie Strang started transforming the camp into a holiday destination four years ago.

Mr King’s ten day Shetland safari comes on the back of his very successful BBC television series “Shetland Diaries”, which introduced millions of people to the wildlife of the isles for the first time.

Mrs Strang said the broadcaster’s commitment towards Saxa Vord was “the final seal of approval for the resort, which has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of the former RAF Saxa Vord Radar Station”.

Earlier this decade Unst faced a bleak economic and social future when the military pulled out of the island after more than 50 years.

The island lost more than 300 inhabitants and much of its economic power.

The Strangs’ intention to convert the military camp into a desirable holiday destination was initially greeted with scepticism.

However their optimism seems to have proved justified, as Saxa Vord enjoys its busiest season ever.

Mrs Strang added: “Over half of Saxa Vord’s visitors come from Shetland but it is also attracting folk from all points north, south, east and west.

“It is not unusual to walk into the restaurant to meet people from Italy, South Africa, USA, Sweden, Norway, Australia and China all at the same time, mixing with local families.

“The large numbers of visitors to Saxa Vord spend money locally, and our marketing helps not just the island of Unst but the wider Shetland area as a whole.

“In short, Saxa Vord is both a success as a business and as a catalyst for the revitalising of the island’s economy and way of life.”

The £2,000 package holiday will be led by Mr King himself as well as local guides Brydon Thomason, John Campbell and Helen Moncrieff.

Mr King said: “The Shetland Isles are a jewel in the crown of Britain; a true wilderness, with wildlife to match.

“From some of the most confiding seabirds in the world, including puffins, to elusive and charismatic creatures like otters and orcas, Shetland offers naturalists the opportunity for some dream encounters.”

The safari is taking place between 25 June and 4 July next year and can be booked through Lerwick travel agent John Leask & Son.

 

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