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Community / Online project launched to record boat noosts

Moder Dy looking for photos and stories

Moder Dy is looking for information on boat noosts.

A MARINE heritage organisation is looking for stories and photos of boat noosts for a new project in a response to the coronavirus lockdown.

Moder Dy, led by Shetland boat specialist Dr Marc Chivers and archaeologist Dr Esther Renwick, will be collecting online photos and stories of Shetland’s noosts over the next few months as part of a project entitled Caain da Noosts.

The project organisers are appealing to tech-savvy young people to help their older relatives, who may be the main repositories of such local history, to get their information across.

Caain da Noosts aims to enable people to take part during social distancing and lockdown by emailing Moder Dy information about the noosts in their area.

Boat noosts, or shelters, have largely fallen into disuse, but were once a working feature of every coastal croft in the isles.

Moder Dy decided to set up Caain da Noosts after coronavirus temporarily halted its Burra Noost project which was due to start in spring with the final stages of a National Lottery grant application in process. Moder Dy had already received a small grant from the Society of Post Medieval Archaeology.

However, rather than leave the eroding noosts and their stories unrecorded, Marc and Esther, who run Moder Dy as volunteers in their spare time, are calling for the community to rally round and help Caain da Noosts.

Marc said: “It is vitally important that we add as much detail to the noost records as possible, now, before time and coastal erosion destroy the memories and archaeology.

“Over the past year we have had an amazing community response to our Burra Noost project. So, faced with this sudden setback we’ve decided to use this period of lockdown positively, to gain as much information as possible from the memories and photos folk already have.

“We realise that many of the folk who know about local noosts are elderly, and might not be able to access our website.

“So, we would like relatives, friends, and neighbours to phone folk for a chat, and to find out their stories which can then be shared with us and recorded on our interactive map.

“This information will help build a more complete picture of life in Shetland when boats were often the only form of practical transport. A time before roads, bridges and cars. So, if you have information or photographs please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!”

You can contact Moder Dy via their website https://www.moderdy.org/caain-da-noosts or email contact@moderdy.org

Moder Dy have also added a downloadable family activity pack to their website with lots of links and activities related to Shetland small boat heritage and archaeology to keep the whole family busy during lockdown.