Past Times: Difficult to get here

From The Shetland Times, Friday 4th September, 1959

“Twenty to thirty thousand pounds should be spent on publicising Shetland” said a New Zealand tourist before leaving Shetland yesterday. Sherwyn Baker, a horse trainer from Christchurch, left home two months ago to visit parts of Britain, France, Germany and Russia.

When he set out he didn’t have any set plans as to the places he would visit in each country but Shetland had rather interested him and he thought it would be fine to see what it was like for himself.

After spending several weeks in London and Manchester he came north to Edinburgh and it was here that he decided to make arrangements for going north to Shetland.

He had already purchased a large coloured brochure issued by coach touring firms. This included a map dividing Britain into six sections but did not include Shetland.

He called at a tourist information office in Edinburgh but was asked to call again in the afternoon when they would be able to help him. In the meantime he could have a booklet on Shetland if he wished. He took one but it was only a two page booklet and contained information mostly about trout fishing etc., but absolutely nothing on how to get to Shetland or who to contact.

Mr Baker decided to drop Shetland out of his tour as he wasn’t particularly concerned if he didn’t get north. When spending a week in Aberdeen, however, he chanced to meet a marine engineer who had been in Shetland during the herring season and he gave Mr Baker all the information he needed about getting to Shetland.

Having seen Shetland and thoroughly enjoyed his week’s stay, Mr Baker is concerned that Shetland should make the most of what it has to offer tourists. But Shetlanders will certainly have to do something more than is being done before they can expect to attract many tourists.

“Shetland should be ready to spend twenty to thirty thousand pounds on publicising the islands” said Mr Baker. “Informative booklets should be circulated properly and a lot could be done with posters in railway stations. Just about very other part of Britain is advertised in the railway stations up and down the country, but I didn’t see one on Shetland, not even in Scotland.”

While in Shetland Mr Baker was glad to meet another New Zealander – Mrs Inkster, wife of Lerwick’s harbour master. Mr Baker’s sister is next door neighbour to Mrs Inkster’s sister in Christchurch and before leaving home promised to look her up.

He has also been very interested to see Shetland ponies in their native home. Shelties are very popular in New Zealand, especially with the children, and they appear a lot at gymkhanas.

Mr Baker left Shetland yesterday and after touring the south of England will visit Marseilles, Berlin and Moscow.


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