Former isles bus is star of first commercial vehicle show

The 1950 Bedford OB Duple Vista Coach formerly operated by John Watt. Photo: Mark Berry

Shetland’s list of festivals has just grown by one, with the weekend playing host to the first Shetland Commercial Vehicle Show.

The Cunningsburgh show field, turned largely to mud by the merciless rain, hosted dozens of commercial vehicles of all shapes and sizes – from a delightful, red-and-blue wooden cart to modern articulated lorries. If it had at least two wheels and could be put to work, it seemed to qualify.

A set of seven beautiful stationary engines whirred and coughed away near a shed that had been converted into a mini-trade show for power tools and workshop accessories, while dozens of families milled all over the field to get a closer look at the exhibits.

The Lerwick Brass Band gave the show a carnival atmosphere, and the moustachioed balloon-animal-artist on stilts and a tall bike seemed to fit in perfectly.

The young ones were well catered for, with a tuck shop, bouncy castle, and an exhibition of photographs and model vehicles in the Cunningsburgh hall for those wishing to escape the elements.

The star of the show was, however, the 1950 Bedford OB Duple Vista Coach. The gorgeous, red-and-cream vehicle had been sold by John Watt in 1979, when it left Shetland- supposedly for good.

After changing hands multiple times it was recently restored by Nick Taylor of Suffolk, who decided to gift it to Shetland after meeting Mr Watt in 2013.

The coach embarked on an 11-day, 1,000-mile journey across the UK to finally arrive in Shetland for the show, where it will remain in the care of the Shetland Commercial Vehicle Society.

Interesting vehicles at the show field. Photo: Mark Berry
Lorries with plenty of character. Photo: Mark Berry

Despite being threatened by the atrocious weather, the first Shetland Commercial Vehicle Show seems to have been a success; one well received by locals young and old alike.

Alex Garrick-Wright


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