Environment / ‘Lament for the Lang Kames’ sees coffin burned at Voe

Ceremony intended to heal community division

A SMALL but heartfelt procession made its way through the Lang Kames on Saturday afternoon as a coffin was borne alongside the A970 under the Extinction Rebellion Shetland banner.

The procession began at the Sandwater junction and terminated at the Voe pier where the coffin, donated by undertaker Anne Goudie, was ceremonially burned on the beach to the accompaniment of songs and fiddle tunes.

The Lament For The Lang Kames was supposed to be part of a healing process for the social rift that has been caused by the proposed Viking wind farm, whose future is uncertain after the project failed to win a government auction to supply renewable energy to the UK grid, said one of the organisers, Pete Bevington.

Bevington, who gave a speech on the objectives of the event before the burning said that the protest was not essentially in opposition to the Viking project, which could see the building of 103 wind turbines throughout central Shetland, but was intended to bring folk together and start healing division in the community.

The marchers take a break in their near eight-mile walk. Photo: P.Johnson/Shetland News

Bevington added: “We felt there was a need to give people the opportunity to express their grief if they so chose and we thought a burning ceremony would be good. We thought we would pay our respects to the Lang Kames which looked like they were about to be desecrated.

“It hasn’t been fully understood by many people, but we felt it was appropriate and there was an awful lot of support and Anne Goudie, bless her, thought it was a wonderful idea.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News


Goudie and her father in law Sonny Goudie, who once ran the family business donated the old “carrying coffin” and thought it a fitting end for 70-year-old casket that had taken many people to the undertakers.

Bevington said that they had struck upon the idea about a month ago and it was “amazing how everything just fell into place, bumping into people accidentally who wanted to help as well. So it just developed a life of its own.”

One such was Maryland native Kate Robinson who had helped out at the Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary (run by Pete and Jan Bevington) 10 years ago and is now resident in England.

She came north for the event and sang two songs, one in Welsh and the other the Unst Boat Song and read a poem by Ted Hughes as the coffin burned. Amy Morgan also played a number of slow airs on the fiddle.


Only around 12 to 15 people took part in the march but Bevington said that he was not disappointed by the turnout or dismayed by a small number of “thumbs down” they received from motorists driving past the procession.

Bevington added: “There’s been a fair bit of controversy about the whole thing because of what it involves, for different reasons. Some people were offended by the idea of carrying a coffin; some people feel that Extinction Rebellion should not be saying anything negative about Viking Energy, which they regard as being good for the planet.

“A lot of people think it was developed in a pretty underhand way, they weren’t given much choice, it was a done deal and it has caused such division.

“We need to move together as a community because tough times lie ahead, no matter where you are, including Shetland, because Shetland is in a very vulnerable place because of its position.

He said that Shetland urgently needed to develop renewable power initiatives and there was no leadership on this matter from the SIC or anywhere else.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.