Clickimin campsite to be sold off to make way for new Anderson High

Campers and caravanners will soon be searching for a new home after Shetland Recreational Trust agreed to sell the Clickimin campsite to make way for the new Anderson High School.

Discussions had been opened in October after it became clear that building on the campsite was potentially the cheapest option for the council. Trustees agreed in principle to sell the land to the SIC at a meeting on Wednesday night.

The SRT said it had been working closely with the council to help make the new £36 million AHS project a reality. Negotiations about using the Clickimin Leisure Complex for the school’s PE lessons are “well developed”.

This autumn the Scottish Government pledged two-thirds of the funding towards a new school and halls of residence. It is hoped construction work could start as soon as 2014.

Following Wednesday’s meeting SRT general manager James Johnston said: “Trustees have now approved the sale of the campsite to Shetland Islands Council. The terms of that sale have yet to be agreed and we will seek to make progress on that shortly.”

Mr Johnston said the trust was not in a position to provide a campsite in an alternative location.

He explained that income from the campsite – £27,376 in 2011 and £21,363 for the first nine months of 2012 – was barely enough to cover the site’s operating costs.

“Moving to another site outwith Clickimin’s boundaries would require dedicated staff and turn this into a loss-making activity for us.”

Bookings will be taken for the campsite up until the end of September 2013. Mr Johnston said the trust hoped another provider would step into the breach.

The impending loss of the campsite has prompted dismay from the Shetland Caravan Club.

Gordon Laurenson, who started the club with his wife Brenda more than 10 years ago, was its first chairman.

The club “just took off” and now has over 100 members, many of whom regularly use the Clickimin site.

“It’s not only tourists who come and spend money in Shetland,” he said. “Locals use it at weekends and for festivals. The site isn’t big enough at times.

“By having staff at Clickimin they didn’t need a warden for the site. It’s a shame, it will be a big loss to the local caravanners. You can’t not have a caravan site in Lerwick.”

Mr Johnston said the trust had inherited the campsite and invested “heavily” in its development and maintenance over the years.

“Construction of the shower block, major ground works and upgrading from four to 20 caravan stands has taken time and money.“We have been happy to operate the campsite, but it is not a core part of the trust’s activities. We hope that another provider can step forward.” 


Add Your Comment
  • Harry Dent

    • December 13th, 2012 15:12

    Has any work been done to assess the loss to the local economy caused by campers and caravanners not coming to Shetland at all?

    Thought not.

  • S M Burns

    • December 13th, 2012 15:26

    I wish I could grasp the financial logic of mothballing a whole lot of perfectly adequate existing junior high schools and directing everyone to the one so overcrowded that it needs to be totally replaced at immense cost. If we must have children bussed about the islands, would it not make just as much sense to bus them OUT of Lerwick, to schools with capacity, and thereby perhaps postpone the day when AHS needs replacing?

  • Albie Redshaw

    • December 14th, 2012 11:22

    Yet another nail in Shetland’s coffin. When will the people of Shetland stand up to the constant drain on its resources that bring people to visit these beautiful isles. We have lost the knitting, the music, the ability to teach our children locally and now we will be restricting visitors who bring money to the isles. Even if this camp site was just breaking even, at least it was not a massive drain costing the isles 100’s of thousands, and brought in visitors!!!

  • Eleanor Black

    • December 14th, 2012 13:56

    Pity. Campsite excellent, handy for ferry arrival, amenities, etc. My brother & my nephew rated it first class, on a par with Kirkwall’s excellent camp/caravan site – well, maybe not quite. Kirkwall’s is hard to equal.

  • Sandy McMillan

    • December 14th, 2012 20:02

    This is the norm of the Shetland Islands Councillors is to take take take, and never a give, a campsite that has taken years to get to this high standard of excellence, used by Tourist and Locals alike,
    and now to be bulldozed to where, has another site been proposed, I would not think so, not enough between the lugs to think that far ahead, the camp site must be a tiny little earner, it is used all through out the Summer months, Walk for life, UpHelly Aa, and many more venues through out the year, what is the reason why it has to go, They wont be able to put a building on the site, which is higher than a Caravan as this would obstruct the Helly Pad, or is this going as well.

  • roy chamberlain

    • December 14th, 2012 22:42

    like many folk we come to shetland for 3 weeks in the summer with a caravan and a large tent- we spend about 2k including ferries – it seems to me that many folk wont bother -without the camp site why come -??

  • Ron Stronach

    • December 15th, 2012 9:29

    When you have a single vision on how education looks for Shetland in the future like the SIC, it is difficult to introduce a different approach. To me, it makes little sense to close good facilities and ferry bairns into Lerwick if it means spending millions of pounds on building a new school.
    Far better to postpone the building of a new school until better times allow.

    If the campsite was paying for itself, then again why close it, perhaps find a decent alternatve site ready for the future when things are better.

    People will no doubt say it comes from a different budget, but who allocates the budget and does it not all start off life in the same purse?

  • roy chamberlain

    • December 15th, 2012 9:42

    can anyone tell me how the trust can sell off an asset owned by the people of shetland -without a public inquiry or a judicial review or even the thought of thinking outside the box as the man said- bus the lerwick children to brae or aith and reopen scalloway school and leave the ahs as the six form college or such like

  • leslie sinclair

    • December 15th, 2012 18:16

    If they are going to build a new high school in Lerwick it has to be afforbable, and consider putting a campsite at seafield or even somewhere out of town.

  • James Mackenzie

    • December 16th, 2012 18:01

    I may be totally wrong here, but I thought the campsite area was still at risk from methane leaking from the old town rubbish dump. Let’s hope excavations won’t open more than a can of worms!

    Nevertheless, I can’t quite understand why the new school couldn’t have been located a little bit further north, where there’s some flat ground between the playing fields and Staney Hill.

    But perhaps a campsite close to a school is considered a risky venture…

  • Allen Fraser

    • December 17th, 2012 13:39

    I’m sure they know what they are doing James – they wouldn’t spend millions on selecting a new site and awarding building contracts just to find out at the last minute that the site was entirely unsuitable – would they?

    Closing the Clickimin campsite is just another attack by the SIC on our tourism industry which they don’t understand and don’t see any value in.

  • Susan Tupman

    • February 10th, 2013 10:04

    We have visited Shetland twice at great cost. We fell in love with the Islands and it’s people. We feel very sad that the Clickimin camp-site is to close. We have stayed at some of the other sites but always felt drawn to Lerwick. We certainly can’t afford to stay in hotels so unfortunately will not be able to return. So, so sad that Shetland Council couldn’t find another site for it’s school.

    • Ali Inkster

      • February 17th, 2014 16:31

      Yes susan camping before education every time.

      • Susan Tupman

        • April 26th, 2017 23:51

        Education is extremely important and I have no doubt the school will be a fabulous asset to Shetland. I spent 33 years in teaching myself and would have loved to teach in a school built at Clickimin. I was merely expressing my sadness at the loss of the site. Perhaps in the future Shetland council might find another part of Lerwick to build a campsite so that visitors can enjoy the islands as much as we did. Tourism plays an important part in the Shetland economy. I was amazed that you didn’t make caustic comments about other posts on the page.

  • Susan Holland

    • February 10th, 2013 16:07

    On staying at the excellent Clickamin camp site we were amazed to find that we were neighbours to the Clickamin broch and now astonished to hear that the site is to be replaced by a building. Is no thought given to preserving the landscape around this beautiful national monument?

  • Stephen Crampton

    • February 17th, 2014 15:28

    Visit Scotland the television adverts have been proclaiming where you’ll get a warm welcome.
    So I look at the website for the Clickimin campsite where I regularly stay on holiday and find out that it is closing.
    At first I am sad then angry that I will no longer be able to visit one of my favourite places in the world.
    After many years I still have a list of things to do and places to see in the Shetland Islands.
    My next door neighbour and her husband had said that they too would like to visit Shetland after I told them stories of my adventures but on hearing this news they have now decided to explore Switzerland.
    It is quite expensive and time consuming just to get up to Shetland in the first place but I have known the effort to be worthwhile in the past.
    I wanted to visit in early May but now I will probably go over to Paris instead.
    People I have met on the campsite over the years have been many and varied.
    I am sure that a lot of business and interest in the islands will be lost as a result of closing the only campsite in the main town.
    I had a local history item I was keen to bring up to show the local studies unit but that will not now happen.
    Shetland is now shut for business . Sad but true. News of the campsite closure will soon get into the travel guides and people will just not come anymore.
    So thanks for nothing sorry decision makers.
    Be careful no to get too culturally inbred and remember St. Kilda!

  • Harry Dent

    • February 17th, 2014 15:52

    Mr Crampton might be only slightly overstating the case – we heard last week that not very many tourists make return visits to Shetland and you can’t help but feel that number will fall further now that this very affordable way of holidaying here has gone.

    Yes there are other campsites but for many of those without their own transport, staying in Lerwick is the only viable option if they are to use the buses to visit different parts of the isles each day.

    Friends of mine from England hoped to visit this year and having had the option of the campsite removed, began making enquiries about b&b accommodation. The first place they tried didn’t even bother responding to emails and phone calls, leaving them so frustarted and disheartened that they too have given up on Shetland for this year.

    It seems to me that both the private and public sectors of our tourist industry really need to up their game if they want to compete in the national market, let alone the international one.

  • David Spence

    • February 17th, 2014 21:29

    I don’t see why the Council cannot put the camp site further along the path which goes around the Clickimin Loch. If the camp was relocated further to the west of the Clickimin Loch, assess could be by either the Clickimin Centre or by Westerloch Side. OK It may mean campers and alike having to walk that little bit extra, but it would still have the beautiful view of Clickimin Loch/Broch as well as being sheltered against northerly and westerly winds.

  • Steve Gordon

    • July 21st, 2015 14:08

    I have been visiting Shetland approx 3 times a year for several years mostly but not always to visit the karate club but have to say I have not been back since May 2013
    The hotels and guest houses are now in my view way over priced compared to the mainland
    I was looking at coming back up at the end of September for 3 days but I am now no longer willing to pay the high hotel or guest house prices so was looking at the camp site as a cheaper alternative but by the time of hiring a car or taxi’s it is just not worth it
    Sorry to say Shetland you are pricing yourselves out of the market and its going to be your loss
    Reduced oil workers and tourists means reduced overall local income
    I will miss coming up to Shetland but for now my Island trips are to the Isle of Lewis instead
    You need a replacement Lerwick campsite to entice people like me to come back


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