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Letters / ‘It makes me angry’

Having Mr Moncrieff complain to us guides (Trust angers tour guides over payment demand; SN, 16/07/15) about lack of visitors/admissions to Sumburgh Lighthouse seems a bit rich.

All of the visitor attractions, plus the rest under Shetland Amenity Trust’s remit, mentioned by Allen Fraser in his letter in May (Neglected tourism sites; SN, 22/05/15) have just been left to fend for themselves.

Visitors cannot understand why such important historic sites are so neglected and are amazed when they are told how much time and money was spent excavating, building or buying these monuments in the first place.

Evidently the Viking longhouse (which took years to build) doesn’t pass Health & Safety regulations, so can’t be used by the public, and the Viking longship (which cost £36,000 of Shetland Amenity Trust’s and therefore Shetland’s money) is starting to rot away. So much for the Viking Unst Project!

As for Scatness, what can I say? I was a guide there when it first opened to the public and was as excited and interested as the rest of Shetland. Now it simply makes me angry.

With such an amazing archaeological discovery so close to Jarlshof, how hard can it be to promote it to the world, attract the cruise ship visitors and make sure that it can generate funds towards its upkeep?

Opening one day a week, whether on Mondays (last year!?) or Fridays (this year) is pretty hopeless but fairly representative of the amenity trust’s attitude towards their responsibility for things in their care.

Tourism will be an industry that Shetland relies on more and more in the future.

Hopefully, there will be younger people moving into management posts who hold all these attractions in a far higher regard. Then guides and local people can all feel proud of Shetland’s heritage.

Sarah McBurnie
See Shetland Tours