Images of the St Ninian’s Isle sands have long been used as promotional icons by Shetland’s tourism industry and often appear in national lists of “best beaches”.
Not only does this beach look stunning, but is regarded by those who admire landscape and natural history to be the best “classic” example of a shell-sand tombolo to be found anywhere.
Unfortunately visitors’ photos of the sands have been spoiled this summer by an abandoned, rusty eyesore on the beach.
The St Ninian’s Isle beach and the outstanding coastal walk around the isle are not the only factors that bring visitors here. A great part of the isle’s attraction is its human history, and in particular the story of the fabulous treasure discovered in the ruined chapel by a schoolboy back in 1958.
St Ninian’s Isle has a terrific story to tell of human and natural history to the many thousands of visitors a year who walk across the sands and seek out the chapel site.
What these visitors cannot understand is why the Shetland community ignores the now unmarked chapel site and have left it abandoned to become an overgrown, decaying disgrace.
For some reason the disgraceful state of the St Ninian’s Isle chapel has been totally ignored for years by those who have been tasked to promote and look after our history and culture.
To cut down nettles, maintain the gate, fence and steps and paint the bench would hardly be at a high yearly cost.
In the past I have contacted Shetland Amenity Trust and Historic Scotland about the state of the site but neither organisation is interested in the upkeep of an important part of Shetland and Scotland’s heritage.
I guess if there was a multi-million pound vanity project to build a roof over the site there would be much more interest shown in looking after an important part of our culture and heritage.