This week’s favourite place has been chosen by Davie Gardner, who is well known in Shetland’s musical community and beyond. He was formerly music development officer with Shetland Arts Trust (now Shetland Arts) and now runs his own music management and events business.
What is your favourite place in Shetland? I suppose I should say Bressay – where I was born – and for many reasons that’s still the case, but in truth I really love Fair Isle.
What about it appeals to you? There’s so much variation within such a small island. The lovely small harbour, beach and cliffs at North Haven, the puffins literally wandering around your feet, the dramatic sweep of Sheep Craig, the lighthouses at both ends of the island, the climb up Ward Hill and then surely the most unknown and indeed unphotographed (officially at least) beauty spot in the whole of Shetland, the west coast of the island with its sea-stacks – best viewed from Malcolm’s Head.
Also it’s the fantastic mix of old and new Shetland on the island. The older Shetland feel, and to some extent way of life, but equally coupled to a very modern and forward-thinking way of approaching everything. But perhaps most of all the people – incredibly friendly, welcoming, pragmatic and of course talented.
The flight from Tingwall, usually down the west side of Shetland, then out around Sumburgh and down to the island itself, has to be one of the best anywhere – worth the price of going there alone.
How often do you go there? Not nearly often enough I’m afraid.
How many times have you been over the years? I’ve only been there five times in total – but I’ve been recently on the Swan which was a great experience and a brilliant success.
What time of day is best? I suppose it depends on the time of year, but building up to a sunset while on the west side of the island is amazing.
What time of year is best? Spring or summer.
Do you seek solitude or is it a place you take friends and family to? I don’t necessarily seek solitude as such, but I suppose you can really appreciate the atmosphere of the place when you are alone and there’s nothing to interrupt your thoughts but the sound of the sea and the birds. But equally it’s a great place to take people to for all the reasons I set out earlier. Few realise how beautiful it is before you actually get there – so it’s good to see their faces, especially when they experience the place for the first time.