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Also in the news / Fair Isle job, ambulance strike threat, cruise season ends and more…

The Fair Isle ferry Good Shepherd IV is due to be replaced by 2026. Photo: SIC

THE VACANT deckhand role on board the Fair Isle ferry comes with the offer of a modern 2/3 bedroom family home on the island.

The National Trust for Scotland, who owns the island, has now embarked on a campaign to attract new residents to the remote community, which is linked to the currently advertised job opportunity on the Good Shepherd.

The organisation is keen to emphasise the breadth of opportunities available on the island: not just the deckhand role, but a chance for people to play a full and varied role in island life.

With full fibre broadband being installed, there are also good options to work remotely.

The trust’s regional director for the Highlands and Islands Clea Warner said: “The new job opening on the island is a fantastic opportunity – including for families as the island has an excellent primary school – to be part of this amazing place for themselves.”

The current ferry is in line to be replaced with a new ro-ro ferry in the coming years after the UK Government committed £27 million to the project.

Warner added: “If you believe that you could be the right person or family for Fair Isle and would like to find out more about life in the community, please contact isle resident Eileen at

THE AMBULANCE service across Scotland could be hit by strike action from GMB Union members should talks with management about a dispute over rest breaks for crews fail.

The union said frontline workers had now overwhelmingly backed strike action to ensure that crews will have a chance to take the breaks they are entitled to.

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Ambulance crews should have breaks totalling 40 minutes in a 12 hour shift but are often being asked to work through after being called to emergencies.

GMB Scotland organiser in the ambulance service Karen Leonard said: “The failure to ensure crews are properly rested has been an increasing cause of concern for years.

“For many reasons, not least the welfare of crews and the safety of patients, proper breaks must be an essential and secure part of every shift.”

The union expects to discuss the issue with the Scottish Ambulance Service’s new chief executive, former NHS Shetland boss Michael Dickson, this week.

The union said it would do everything to avoid industrial action, but should its members go on strike it would be for the ambulance service to arrange contingency plans.

THE 2023 cruise season has come to a slightly premature end after Wednesday’s visit of the AIDAluna was called off due to the weather.

Lerwick Harbour’s quaysides were bustling with record breaking numbers of visitors this summer. Photo: Ben Mullay for Lerwick Port Authority

It was Lerwick Port Authority’s busiest season yet, with 129 cruise ships visiting. There were around 124,000 passengers in total, which was a new high.

The visit of the Tall Ships Races in July also helped to boost figures.

Lerwick Port Authority cruise and marketing manager Melanie Henderson said: “The successful performance of our marine tourism sector on three overlapping fronts has made it a year like no other.

“The Shetland supply chain, the islanders with their warm welcome, stakeholders and our staff deserve the highest praise for their efforts.

“The favourable impression made on cruise operators means there are already 160 vessels booked for 2024, with the schedule yet to be finalised, and another busy yachting season is anticipated as we continue to develop marine tourism.”

NATURESCOT says it is not aware of any issues with drones disturbing wildlife at Shetland’s two national nature reserves.

It comes after a petition was lodged with the Scottish Parliament calling on the Scottish Government to prohibit the use of recreational drones on national nature reserves without a permit from NatureScot.

Whilst a spokesperson for NatureScot said drones can cause “serious disturbance to wildlife”, there have been no reported issues in either Noss or Hermaness in Shetland.

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