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Marine / Museum carpark to close as restored boat heads to slipway

THE CARPARK at the Shetland Museum and Archives will be temporarily closed between Sunday evening and Tuesday as a restored boat is moved onto the slipway.

A team of skilled shipwrights arrived in Shetland in April and set to work to restore the Maggie Helen – also known as Loki – in the museum’s boat shed.

Museum operator Shetland Amenity Trust said they have made “significant progress” with work on the ex-fishing boat’s hull and the deck and are now at the stage where they need to bring her out of the shed and continue their work outdoors on the slipway.

There is an existing walkway in place over the slipway which provides access to the Museum and Archives as well as providing access for those walking along Hays Dock.

A crane will be brought in to remove the walkway on Monday to enable the boat to be moved.

The museum is closed to the public on a Monday but a temporary diversion will be put in place for pedestrians which will take them around the back of the building.

All being well, the crane will lift the walkway back into place later in the day. The museum car park will be closed to the public from Sunday evening to enable the crane to be moved into place.

The team at the Museum and Archives is asking anyone parked there to ensure their vehicle is removed by Sunday evening.

They also ask that anyone who is in the area on the day respects any cordons and safety signage that is in place.

The shipwrights will continue their work on the slipway over the coming month and hope to have the boat afloat on the next very high tide.

Once work is done, the vessel will leave Shetland for completion further afield, to take up a working life especially along the west coast of Britain and in France.

Maggie Helen was built in the same boat shed 120 years ago, but she has been in indoor storage since 2007.

The first stage of restoration was done at the time, stripping the boat back to the hull and replacing defective planking.

But realising that the museum would not have the resources to carry out a full restoration and then maintain the vessel once re-launched, she was kept in storage in the boat shed.