20th June 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Boat week must continue (Tor Justad)

I refer to the special feature headed “Shetland Boat Week and the future of preserving the island’s maritime heritage” by Brian Wishart (The Shetland Times, 5th January) in which he described the Shetland Boat Week as “the most exciting boat development in the isles in the last 30 years”.

As a former Shetland resident I attended the 2017 Shetland Boat Week and participated in events every day of the week including boat trips, lectures and a fascinating tour of the boat store guided by Ian Tait.

The boat week parade which concluded the 2017 event. Photo: Stephen Gordon

The whole event was well organised by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable team, backed up with many experienced seamen admiring the boat displays at the museum and onboard boats as well as sharing their experiences.

Everyone I met, both locals and visitors, had enjoyed the events they attended and learnt more about Shetland’s maritime heritage.

I am aware of the current financial challenges of the Shetland Amenity Trust but in my opinion it would be an absolute tragedy if the Shetland Boat Week were not to continue. There is no substitute for a well-funded and organised event to bring together all the strands of Shetland’s maritime heritage and share them with a wider audience including the younger generation who may never experience some of the unique aspects of older boats in Shetland.

I would urge those with decision-making powers over finance to give full consideration to the merits of this unique event and ensure that it continues for many years to come.

I am sure the event also has national and international significance so should attract funding and sponsorship from within and outwith Shetland.

Tor Justad
17 Ord Terrace,
Strathpeffer,
Ross-shire.

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