Spoiling the attraction (Jeff Merrifield)
Shetland Jazz Club brings a lot of top jazz musicians to the islands and many of them stay with me in Sandwick.
One of the highlights of their stay here is a visit to St Ninian’s Isle with its beautiful sands and perfect picture-postcard views. Jim Mullen, in particular, was so struck by St Ninian’s that when he went back to London, to a gig at the Ronnie Scott Club, he spent all the night showing the other jazz players his pictures of the isle, and sharing his delight of the place.
Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I took those nice chaps from the Nova Scotia Jazz Band to St Ninian’s for a Sunday afternoon treat, to find that the causeway had been taken over by large numbers of people on quad machines charging up and down the beautiful beach without a care for other visitors.
The band was horrified, so we did not linger too long. It was impossible to admire the beauty of the place with the sound of whining high-pitched engines, the acrid smell of distasteful burnt fuel that lodges in the throat, the churning up of the wonderful beaches and the sight of these unseemly machines literally taking over one of Shetland’s natural beauty spots. As we left, more of these gross machines were arriving in twos and threes on trailers.
I was interested to read Janice Armstrong’s letter on the same subject in The Shetland Times of 27th May. She hit the nail right on the head. St Ninian’s is one of Shetland’s tourist attractions, one of the things people take away from their visit and tell others about.
This is not the place to be taken over and destroyed by this kind of activity, which may have a place elsewhere but not in this natural beauty spot. Heaven knows how it is affecting the wildlife.
Someone in the council, the tourist or the law enforcement agencies must have the authority to nip this in the bud, and should do so before one of the summer tourist attractions is wrecked.
I have spoken to others who have been disturbed by this and it seems to happen most Sundays, the one day when the peace and tranquillity that St Ninian’s used to offer was most appreciated and is now most missed.