The family bus company that served Shetland for more than a century has made its final journey.
John Leask & Son’s Scalloway service left Viking bus station in Lerwick for the very last time this evening (Sunday), as crowds of well-wishers – including Jarl squad members – bid it a fond farewell.
Brothers Peter and Andrew Leask, who have run the company – the third generation in the family to do so – remarked it was the “end of an era”.
Andrew, 69, said he was sad to see it go but also felt the time was right.
“There’s been so many good memories,” he said,
“It’s something I’ve really enjoyed doing for the past 52 years.”
Andrew started out in the business working part-time as a taxi driver, moving to full-time as soon as he left school.
“I sat my last higher exam at 11am on the Thursday morning and was working full-time by 2pm that day,” he said.
“It’s been a lot of work with not much time off.”
Andrew said he had particularly fond memories of Shetland’s oil boom in the 70s and 80s, when it was especially busy, as well as more recently with the gas plant.
Despite the long hours, he said it had been a privilege to serve the Shetland community.
The business was founded by Peter and Andrew’s grandfather, John Leask, in 1919 – and many other members of the family have been involved over the years.
“We’re the last ones,” said Andrew.
Peter, 71, who joined a few years after his brother, said he also had “mixed feelings” about the situation.
While he was sad to see to see the business end, he also felt ready to retire.
“Being involved in transport all these years has been great,” he added.
“You meet so many people, from both the public and the school services, as well as tourists in the summer time.
“There’s always something different going on.”
As well as the passengers, Peter said he also had fond memories of the buses themselves.
He said they were much more than “just a box on wheels”.
“Every one has its own character,” he added.
Between them, the brothers have 101 years of experience which, coincidentally, is the length of time Leaks has been operating.
Bus driver Karl Maguire, who helped organise this evening’s send off said that after more than a century it was a “sad day for Shetland” .
“It’s the end of an era,” he said,
Leaks services will be operated by four other companies from tomorrow.