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Marine / Orca watch in Muckle Roe sparks road concern

Photo: Julie Dennison

A REMINDER has been made for orca watchers to be considerate when driving to reported sightings of the marine animal following concerns over the number of cars parked at a passing place on a single track road in Muckle Roe.

The incident in question happened on Wednesday evening at a blind corner and passing place at the Windy Grind, with five or six cars parked in total at one point.

Julie Dennison, who lives nearby, said this caused visibility issues on the road. She added that other cars were also taking up passing places nearby.

Dennison said she has no issue with people coming to view orcas, but she is keen for a greater resect of the rules of the road.

Dashcam footage of the corner/passing place.

She said she will raise the matter at the next meeting of Delting Community Council – and wants the issue given a wider airing across Shetland.

The issue is not unique, with Lerwick Fire Station reminding people back in 2019 to keep the building’s exits clear after a number of vehicles were parked near the station as people sought a sight of orcas.

Sightings of killer whale in Shetland are reported on a busy Facebook group with more than 30,000 members, which usually leads to people travelling for a look.

A pinned post at the top of the page from admin Hugh Harrop clearly advises orca watchers to pay attention to the road when parking.

“When out looking for whales and dolphins after a report has ‘hit’ this page, please park sensibly and have respect for other road users at all times,” it reads.

“There have been instances where passing places and turning areas have blocked and vehicles blocked in. These sort of situations become police matters, so please do consider your actions. Please also adhere to the countryside access code and remember that breeding birds may still have dependent young.”

But Dennison said there were reports of a Muckle Roe resident being subjected to verbal abuse and was told to phone the police when raising concern over the parking.

“It’s gotten to the stage where I dread what’s coming when someone announces there’s orca around Muckle Roe, as it just turns into a scene of chaos where most people have no regard for the people living here,” she added.

“When I spoke to this group of people, they didn’t seem to take me seriously.

“I am not a confrontational person, but I felt compelled to speak to them as this happens time and time again, and it has to stop.

“As a community councillor for Delting, I intend to highlight this at our next meeting as I believe, at the very least, further awareness is required Shetland-wide for this kind of irresponsible behaviour.

“For anyone who wishes to come to Muckle Roe and is looking for parking, there is a large car park there is a large car park at the public hall, and another at the end of the road.”

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