Disgust and utter dismay (John Slater)

On reading the story of Robert Thomson’s long-term objectives and plans to restore the old house and revitalise other facilities on Linga, I couldn’t help but feel a great sympathy for him.

However, the absolute opposite, disgust and utter dismay is how I felt towards the small-minded bureaucrats that have now been able to arbitarily come to stand in his way. Their justifications and the puerile excuses offered do not stand any great scrutiny.

A Shetland man wanting to come back to the place of his birth, to create and fulfil a dream such as his is surely something that should be fostered, not obstructed in this way.

I am the grandson of George Scott Slater, born on Papa Isle in 1870, and recently with a happy band of 21 variously named relatives visited Papa, its old ruined stone houses, Little Ayre, Tangy Voe and the Peerie Kirk and fulfilled my dream of “making the return”. So you can see why I readily empathise with this man.

I wish that I too could be involved in a restoration project on Papa such as Robert Thomson has dreams/plans for on Linga. Unfortunately my pockets are not deep enough for such an undertaking and sad to say the Slater connections to the isle ceased long ago, as far back as 1946 I think.

I strongly agree with Mr Thomson’s assertion that tourist attractions in Shetland such as his plan for Linga would be viable. I can call on my own experience to reinforce that. Together with my other five overseas visitors (all under 25) we were transfixed with the wild pristine uniqueness we enjoyed so much on Papa.

So as we say here in Bishops Bridge, his idea really is a “little ripper”. Let him have a go and applaud his enterprise. It is, after all, his own money that is going to be spent.
I would also love to see him perhaps introduce his tourist visitors to my cousins Deborah Anderson and Valerie Gordon’s excellent reestit mutton and tattie stew. Bannocks as well perhaps.

So let’s hear it everybody for people such as Robert Thomson.

John Slater
Bishops Bridge,


Add Your Comment
  • Colin Hunter

    • April 20th, 2011 11:15

    The bulk of the “Small-minded bureaucrats” you refer to have in all likelyhood been imported into these islands from some ghastly conurbation on the British Mainland, and, as such, have no concept of what the islands are about. They merely regurgitate rules and regulations at us and if something falls outside a particular “Tick box” it’s probably doomed from the outset! A project of this nature would almost certainly be well outside the scope of such people and we’ll probably end up the poorer for it.

  • Kate Robertson

    • April 20th, 2011 15:12

    I do not understand the abuse that is given to the poor planners who only do their job making recommendations based on the policies that are set based on the views of the Shetland Community. I am disgusted at the attitude of so called Shetlanders. And – I think you will find at least half of them are Shetlanders, who have a very difficult job to do, and are very passionate about their islands, and do not deserve the abuse they receive, and in fact should receive danger money for doing so.

    Also, John Slater, you can’t base your view on a little visit you had during the summer. You don’t live here or understand the complexities of living on these Islands – it may be a nice thought for you to have this historic family Island used again, but who will pay to service all of the other islands of this type if a precedent is set. Who will pay for air ambulance services for example, do you just leave the people to die because the applicant says that they don’t want any services. I also had family living in these small islands and support the views of the poor planner. Sorry Mr Slater, but stick to the issues in your own area!!

  • Colin Hunter

    • April 21st, 2011 0:16

    I have no doubt that if anyone, anywhere, gets into difficulty or falls ill unexpectedly, then our truly excellent emergency services will spring into action and come to the rescue. I refer you to a recent incedent in Unst where an elderly man became disoreinted and needed to be rescued from Hermaness. Also the incedent some while ago when a man was rescued from Ronas Hill. While these people were, at best, ill prepared and possibly foolhardy for being where they were, they were, nonetheless, entitled to be there. You can be fairly sure that anyone who goes on such a holiday will do so with their eyes open to the potential dangers and may even choose to provide themselves with insurance to cover such an eventuality. It would be better yet if everyone inclined to venture off the beaten track had some kind of insurance protection to cover the cost of rescue. That way there would be no cost to the taxpayer at all.


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