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Fair Isle yoals in starring role

Fair Isle boat builder Ian Best and his son Tom work on one of the two yoals for the film Between Weathers - Photos: Liz Musser

THE TEAM behind plans to shoot a full length movie in Shetland are awaiting the delivery of two traditional boats currently being built by Fair Isle boat builder Ian Best.

The two yoals were commissioned last September by Between Weathers director Jim Brown and are now nearing completion.

The two wooden rowing boats, set on a 10ft keel, are strictly speaking too small to be yoals, and better described as fouraeens.

To be named Golden Gleam and Silver Spirit after main sponsor George Stroud’s grandfather’s boats, they are set for a starring role in the movie.

No official date for the start of shooting Between Weathers has yet been set, but it is widely expected that some filming will be done this spring.

The master and his apprentice. Tom watches his father Ian at work on the yoal.

Mr Best said building the two traditional boats had been “a fine job for the winter”, and had also enabled his son Tom to return from Norway to Fair Isle for a few months to help with task.

“It has been a fine job. These are good boats to build, as there is no heavy lifting involved. These boats are not big, but there has to be enough space in them for the one person that rows, plus half a film crew.

“The boats are more or less completed apart from a few small things. I then have to be in touch with the producer to find out how they want them, because they have to be slightly aged. That is something we haven’t spoken much about yet.”

Mr Brown said the two yoals will take centre stage in the film when Thomas and Charles race them through the caves below Fustra in a winner takes all climax to the picture.

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Jim Brown said: “The attention to detail on the yoals has been uppermost in everyone’s minds; these are traditional boats that have been built in a traditional way using traditional materials.

“We are delighted we have been able to commission these boats to be built on Fair Isle. It demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the Shetland Isles.”