Whale of a problem

By Adrian Darbyshire

Inconsiderate parking by orca watchers is a Shetland-wide problem, community councillors heard.

This issue was raised at a meeting of the Association of Shetland Community Councils on Tuesday.

A paper presented by Alastair Cooper of Delting Community Council highlighted inconsiderate parking by groups whale watching, bird watching and loch fishing who blocked roads and lay-bys on single tracks lanes.

This, he said, was a Shetland-wide problem, and it required an island-wide solution. Orca chasers were said at the meeting to have made “twitchers look like well-behaved children”.

Delting Community Council has contacted Police Scotland and Shetland Island Council’s highways division about the problem parking.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Mark Burgess of Scalloway Community Council spoke of being caught up in the “madness of whale chasing” himself in the past and admitted: “We’ve all been there and all done it – blocked roads, parked where we should not, even gone across people’s gardens.”

He said the same thing happened with those hoping to catch a glimpse of the “mirrie dancers”.

Mr Burgess said it was quite a unique situation to the isles and suggested there should be a Shetland-specific countryside access code.

This could be made available to passengers on the NorthLink ferries, he said.

He also proposed that a responsible wildlife watching video should be produced.


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