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.