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Community / Plenty of rain – but plenty of smiles too as Tall Ships buzz continues

THE HEAVENS may have opened up on Friday morning, but the Tall Ships festivities is continuing on in style despite the rain.

Crowds gathered to watch Princess Anne tour around the site, with the royal visiting boats such as the Christian Radich.

She was flanked by the likes of Lerwick Port Authority chief executive Calum Grains and lord lieutenant Bobby Hunter.

Hood up and under an umbrella, she also met with the crew of local boat the Swan.

Some people had gathered earlier to watch the royal enter Fort Charlotte, but were left thinking ‘is that it?’ when her vehicle drove past without stopping.

With plenty of folk milling about the centre, business has been good for the stalls which look out over to Bressay.

Cheryl Jamieson’s Glansin Glass stall has been busy. Photo: Shetland News

Glansin Glass owner Cheryl Jamieson said her stall has been “really busy” over the last couple of days.

“We’ve had the cruise liner passengers in as well, and just so many folk,” she said.

“I think we’ve got a perfect spot here with the view.”

With tall ships and boats lined up opposite a bustling marketplace, many have remarked that it does not quite feel like Shetland – that is, until you look over and see the Bressay ferry rolling by.

Not too far away, and the crew of the ornate looking Norwegian tall ship Sorlandet were busy unpacking a delivery of food and drink.

Crew member Julie Bakke, who has been with the boat for two years, said the ship sailed all the way to Shetland in the wind.

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She said there is a “lot of work” to be done, but there are a “lot of beautiful things to see” in Shetland.

The ship has a range of nationalities on board and there are just less than 100 folk on the ship, which are mainly trainees.

They tend to sleep on hammocks which are hung from the ceiling in the main living area.

“It’s quite crowded, and there are a lot of who have never sailed before,” Bakke said.

“We have a lot of young trainees, all the way down to 13,14. We also have older people, up to 85.”

Meanwhile Tue Blom – pictured below – has been on the boat for around one and a half months.

Sorlandet crew member Tue Blom. Photo: Shetland News

Causing a stir around the pier was the Flying Seagulls Project, a circus ensemble who are putting on shows and as well as undertaking eye – and ear – catching walkabouts around town.

At one point they held a sing-song including a cameo from a passer by who had a squeezebox – whilst they also strolled past Princess Anne whilst playing jaunty music.

One of the group is Donna Simpson, who is from Shetland.

She said it “feels amazing” to be taking her colleagues to her home.

Donna Simpson (middle) performing with the Flying Seagull Project in Lerwick on Friday. Photo: Shetland News

“It’s really surreal, I still canna believe we’re all here,” Simpson said.

“I’ve spoken about it so much around my friends and family and them finally getting to see it is something special for me.”

She has been with the circus group for six years, and has travelled across the globe with them.

The group often perform to children in crisis situations, such as at refugee camps.

Despite the elements the live music still continues on, with yesterday’s sun drawing out the crowds.

Reflecting on how it has gone so far, music programmer Tim Matthew said: “It seems to be going pretty well lots of folk outside enjoying themselves and a great atmosphere at the gigs.

“The sunshine certainly helped, though I can’t take credit for that!”

Tonight will see Peat and Diesel headline the Holmsgarth stage, whilst Catriona MacDonald & Annbjørg Lien will be last on at the pier.

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