Tourist trade (Paul Meyer)
The importance of tourist and visitor trade to our area must not be overlooked. Tourism attracts up to 60,000 visitors a year to Shetland and is worth over £17 million income for the isles.
The Bigton shop is ideally located some 750 metres distant from St Ninian’s Isle and the tombolo (together with a large car park) which is one of Shetland’s prime tourist attractions.
Apart from Sumburgh Head at the very tip of the island and some 11 miles south, both the Mainland’s and the Toab shops do not have any significant tourist attractions. Only the Mainland’s shop attracts passing traffic heading to the Croft House, Quendale Mill and onwards to Sumburgh Head and the airport.
The Bigton shop has never capitalised on this valuable ancillary tourist trade. Tourist and visitor traffic including cars and coaches heading for St Ninian’s Isle and the tombolo are currently routed from the main A970 from Lerwick to the north by the first signpost that states “Bigton & St Ninian’s Isle”.
This first route takes traffic winding through Bigton village in an anti-clockwise direction that finally arrives at the St Ninian’s road turn-off. Unfortunately, this route completely bypasses the Bigton Shop and the toilets opposite.
The other and more favourable route for passing trade and onto to St Ninian’s Isle is one kilometre further on at the second “Bigton & St Ninian’s Isle” turn-off where it is also signed “toilets” (no sign states “Bigton shop”).
Traffic on this route would pass directly in front of the Bigton shop located on the right just prior to the St Ninian’s turn-off. Revised signage and hoardings advertising both St Ninian’s Isle and the Bigton Community Shop by this alternative route would be a logical move. If you want a hand with signage I’d be delighted to assist.