Yule issue of New Shetlander

The Yule issue of the New Shetlander has a cover photo of Weisdale looking suitably wintry. Inside is the usual mixture of modern and historical, fact and fiction, prose and poetry.

The lead articles should answer any questions readers may have about Da Lightsome Buoy, the striking sculpture unveiled at the Small Boat Harbour in October, in celebration of the importance to Shetland of the pelagic fishing industry, past and present. John Goodlad contributes a concise history of pelagic fishing in Shetland, and an explanation of how the sculpture project was planned and put into action. The artist, Jo Chapman, then gives us a fascinating insight into the project from her point of view: A year – the making of a sculpture.


The editorial expresses disquiet over Brexit and Brexiteers, while Willie Thompson’s Wadder eye looks with dismay at recent world events, and with interest at more local issues.

The 2016 Rhoda Bulter Award was recently won by Lauraine Peterson, and her winning short story, Boannie blue, is published here. One for the romantics at heart. In contrast, Da Greenfield refrigerator by Annie Broon, presents the continuing large-as-life adventures of James John and peerie Davy.


Charlie Simpson writes “We decided to run” – Charles Johnson’s 1887 ordeal. Charles Johnson was a renowned haaf skipper from North Roe, and wrote his own account of the 1887 events in in 1935. Charlie Simpson reproduces that account here, explains the details, with the help of maps, and comments fully on the amazing feat of endurance involved.

Laughton Johnston’s article deals with the stories of six individual Shetland seamen who were Trapped in the Baltic when the First World War broke out. His sources are family memories, stories from descendants and, in two cases, actual recordings made in years past. Five men made it home (though one of them was later lost with his ship); the sixth was captured and interned for the duration of the war. Photographs accompany the piece, including a group photo of 34 Shetland seamen in Ruhleben POW camp.


Norwegian professor Jørn Øyrehagen Sunde (who gave the Tom Henderson Memorial Lecture a few years ago) contributes an article on the subject of a legal dispute in Shetland in 1637. This involves the decline of udal law in Shetland – which, Prof Sunde indicates, was declining in Norway as well at the time.

Poems range from the seasonal to the political. Michael Rosen has contributed a poem about Fascism. Viveka Vellupillai, who wrote an account of her research into Shetland dialect for the last issue, has written a poem about an evening’s knitting in Shetland, with her grandmother’s Swedish vocabulary running through her mind.

Samuel Irvine of Whalsay, who contributed many weather observations over the years, died recently. His final submission, on the year of 1947, appears here. The usual book reviews complete the magazine.