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Also in the news / Knab demolition photos, young fiddler, visiting 223 islands and more …

the Dispecta Est Thule exhibition starts on 1 May. Photo: Dave Donaldson

A SERIES of black and white photographs by Dave Donaldson documenting the demolition of the old Anderson High School site at the Knab is set to open in Mareel and at Twageos Road on 1 May.

Titled Dispecta est Thule after the school’s motto, the photos exhibited at Twageos Road (1 May – 1 June) will focus on the demolition and infrastructure, while the portrait series in Mareel’s upper bar (1 May – November) celebrates the people carrying out the demolition work.

Well-known local photographer Donaldson was commissioned by the council and Shetland Arts to chart the site’s evolving history through 2023.

The arts agency’s creative project programmer Jane Matthews said: “These striking black and white photographs document a valuable element of Shetland’s history and provide a wonderful insight into the work and the people involved in clearing the Knab site.

“As a place that holds so many memories for so many people, we’re delighted to have had the opportunity to commission this archive of images.”


Senior winners in 2023:  Ami Grains (best played slow air), Evie Williamson (Shetland Young Fiddler of the Year 2023) and Kristie Williamson (best played reel).

THIS year’s Shetland Young Fiddler of the Year competition will be held in Mareel on 26 and 27 April with 95 entries across three ages groups from age six to 16.

Junior fiddlers (P6 and under) perform on Friday morning, intermediate (P7-S1) on Friday afternoon, and senior fiddlers (S2-S4) compete on Saturday morning. The winners will be announced at the Shetland Young Fiddler concert the same evening.

The competition will be judged by three well known Shetland fiddlers; Jenna Reid, Mary Rutherford and Barry Nisbet.

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New to the judging panel, Nisbet said: “I’ve been lucky enough to hear several of Shetland’s young fiddlers perform recently; the standard continues to be phenomenally high, and I feel a great pride to be part of a fiddle tradition that seems to go from strength to strength and never fails to produce many exceptional players, as well as a solid love of music among the whole community.”


VISITING all 223 permanently inhabited islands of the British Isles is no small feat – and writing a book about it is an ever bigger achievement.

Embarking on this challenge back in 2016, author John Brant Chatterton’s 480 page account of his 5,000 mile journey Treasured Islands is due to be published at the end of the month.

Starting out with no preconceptions the author fell under the spell of the islanders, their culture and history, many clinging on resolutely to their homes despite the changing worlds in which they live.

“To my knowledge this is a unique journey and includes diverse trips such as those to the unique island of Foula with around 30 inhabitants some 25 miles into the Atlantic from Mainland Shetland and the death-defying march across the Thames estuary to Foulness, which has seen hundreds of casualties overcome by tides and quicksands,” the author said.

Published by Troubador, Treasured Islands will be released on 28 April, priced £12.99.


TOURISM businesses across the isles are encouraged to enter the Highlands & Islands Thistle Awards before the end of the month.

The awards categories encompass every aspect of the tourism and hospitality sector including food and drink, accommodation and experiences to outstanding individuals, action on climate change, inclusivity and innovation.

The 2024 HITA categories are:      

  • Best bar or pub
  • Best eating experience
  • Best hotel experience
  • Best self-catering or unique stay
  • Best B&B or guest house experience
  • Outstanding cultural event or festival
  • Celebrating thriving communities
  • Inclusive tourism
  • Climate action
  • Best visitor attraction
  • Best outdoor or adventure experience
  • Tourism and hospitality employer of the year
  • Tourism individual of the year
  • Highland ambassador
  • Rising star
  • Innovation in tourism

Winners proceed to the Scottish Thistle Awards national final to represent the region and compete with the best of the rest of the country.

Entries to the awards close on 28 April. More information on how to apply can be found here.

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