Past Life: Summer Visitors
From Shetland Life, August 1986, No.70
Extract from Editorial Comment
One of the best aspects of summer in Shetland is the large number of visitors from all parts of the world who, in nearly very case, are delighted with the friendly reception that greets them. This has long been a feature of our islands as is indicated by the attitude of Shetlanders to the Dutch fishermen who used to congregate in their thousands in Bressay Sound in June each year and who, during the herring fishery, made contact with people in all parts of the islands. Of course they brought tea, tobacco and spirits – luxuries otherwise hard to get in Shetland – and they brought news of the outside world after a long winter of silence. Even that dour, old minister of Dunrossness, the Rev John Mill, writing in his diary of 1787 called their arrival “an agreeable sight.”
Today we have regular communications all year round and visitors come with every plane and every arrival of the St Clair. But the summer visitors are special – they do not come because they have to or because they can make money here but because they want to come and it is surely up to all of us to make their visit as enjoyable as possible. There have been improvements in recent years, notably the introduction of Smyril Line’s Norrona, which links Shetland with Norway, Faroe and Iceland and has restored Shetland’s traditional position as the cross-roads of the North Sea.
This summer will be remembered for our recent very special visitors, Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales. The welcome they received is an indication of genuine affection and also of the high regard shown by Shetlanders to the whole Royal Family.