Marine / Hopes that smaller cruise ships could visit Northmavine

The Collafirth pier and marina. Photo © Mat Tuck (cc-by-sa/2.0)

CRUISE passengers disembarking at Collafirth? That is the hope of some who are keen to see smaller cruise ships stopping off in Northmavine when they visit Shetland.

Former councillor Drew Ratter, who lives in the parish, is leading the project – and he believes it could come to fruition in the next year or two.

“I would credit progress so far entirely to the work done by David Murray, from North Roe, who has been working on this tirelessly for a couple of years now,” Ratter said.

“He has had to pull back for personal reasons, and when he asked me to step in an see whether I could take the project forward, I was more than happy to do so.”

Nearly 130 cruises called into Lerwick this year, with even more scheduled next year.

Occasionally smaller ‘expedition’ cruise ships may also stop off in other parts of Shetland, such as Fair Isle and Unst, with the ship dropping the anchor before passengers head ashore on small boats.


Passengers coming off ships in Lerwick can go on excursions around Shetland, and whilst Northmavine is one destination, it involves a fair bit of time spent on a bus.

Ratter is now leading a project to see if Northmavine can added to cruise itineraries, with the idea being that passengers could come ashore at the Collafirth Pier and experience the area without needing to travel from Lerwick.

He has spoken to officials in ports and harbours as well as economic development, and the companies operating cruise excursions.

Drew Ratter.

Ratter said he first raised the idea of ships coming in and using the Collafirth Pier, but that would need improvements to the facility.

“What will happen initially is that some of the smaller expedition ships…the people that already go into Baltasound and Fair Isle for instance – it would be people like that,” he said.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


“So they would be using Zodiacs [inflatable boats] to come ashore. And after that everything will have to be organised with buses.”

Ratter believes the cliffs and lighthouse in Eshaness is Northmavine’s “jewel in the crown”, but he said there is plenty more to see.

He also suggested that local people could rent a public hall, for instance, and put on a craft sale and refreshments for cruise visitors.

Is it going to happen? “I think that it will happen, yes,” Ratter said, adding that whilst there could be some test excursions next year it may be 2025 before things kick off properly.

Current councillor Tom Morton, who represents Shetland North and lives in the parish, has also supported the idea.

He said there is an “enormous amount to see and do in Northmavine”.

In addition to the pier, which was built in the late 1980s on the site of an old Norwegian whaling station, there is a small marina at Collafirth.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.