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News round-up / Mute swans hatch, ship gets new mizzen yard, climate friendly farming and record bookings at NorthLink

These five mute swan cygnets hatched on Thursday. Photos: Steven Spence

THESE five mute swan cygnets are said to be the first ever to hatch in Unst. They hatched on Thursday and took to the water at Wester Loch in Uyeasound the next day.

Mute Swans are still are breeders in Shetland although a small population has now been established.

Thanks to Steven Spence for sharing his video and photos with Shetland News readers.


Swan trustees take delivery of the spar from Tommi Nielsen.

THE VOLUNTEERS behind Shetland’s own tall ship Swan have taken delivery of a brand new spar – a wooden pole used in the rigging to carry or support its sails yard – for the almost 120-year-old sailing ship.

When the vessel’s mizzen yard broke two years ago a temporary replacement was used until a new one could be ordered from the well-known Gloucester traditional boatyard run by Tommi Nielsen.

Trustees were surprised to hear that Nielsen then planned to deliver the new mizzen yard personally and in style – on board the 60-foot Bristol Channel pilot cutter Mascotte, built in 1904, herself the result of a major restoration in 1994.

The Mascotte happened to be on passage from Oban to the Tromsø area in Norway and Nielsen was happy to come via Shetland to drop off the spar.

Swan Trust trustee Brian Wishart said: “I could not believe it when Tommi rang to say he was taking the spar up on the Mascotte.

“We would have loved to have the transfer of the spar directly from Mascotte to Swan in Lerwick harbour, but this cannot be as Swan is currently en route to St Kilda!”

A description of Mascotte’s working life with facts and figures can be found at: www.nationalhistoricships.org.uk/register/689/mascotte.


FARMERS and crofters from every corner of Scotland will gather at Holyrood on Tuesday to demand significant changes in farming policy that will address climate change and biodiversity loss, while safeguarding long-term food production.

With agriculture being one of the largest emitters of CO2, the Scottish Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) has called on the Scottish Government to support nature and climate-friendly farming policies.

To mark to first anniversary of the NFFN, farmers will meet with MSPs to outline the group’s key policies aimed at reducing agriculture’s climate impact, while local MSP Tavish Scott will sponsor a farmers’ market.

“Agriculture is a crucial Scottish industry from Shetland to Stranraer. The Scottish NFFN have a central role in influencing the future of support and policy that will affect crofters and farmers in the years ahead,” he said.

“This anniversary is important for that reason – our future is very much at stake.”


SERCO NorthLink Ferries is predicting its busiest ever holiday season fuelled by the popularity of the Shetland TV crime drama and the growing trend of enjoying holidays at home.

The company’s managing director Stuart Garrett said that bookings on the north boats have so far been “extremely strong” for 2019.

“Summer time in Orkney and Shetland is a unique experience that really does have to be seen to be believed,” Garrett added.

Last month Shetland was included in travel book publisher Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Europe’ list – the only UK destination in the top ten.

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