In a previous blog I mentioned how fortunate I was to work and live quite close to the sea overlooking Lerwick Harbour. I concentrated on the Klondike era of the 1980s and late 90s. I would now like to share with you some more of my experiences and images from in and around the harbour. The port of Lerwick and its harbour is the maritime crossroads of the North Sea, and is sheltered by the island of Bressay to the East and has two entrances; the “North Mooth” and the “Sooth Mooth”. It is a modern harbour and caters for all types of seagoing: craft, pleasure, fishing, cargo, ferries, cruise ships, oil and gas as well as decommissioning. It not only provides shelter for seafarers but also aquatic wildlife and sea birds. Our home is situated a short distance from the sea in the town of Lerwick, however we are also very fortunate in that, at the rear of our property, we have the Staney Hill which overlooks the town and is an ideal spot to view harbour traffic. We are also very keen dog walkers and have spent many happy hours walking the shore around the harbour.
I will split my blogs on the harbour into various topics of maritime life, beginning with pleasure craft activities which take place mainly in the summer months when the weather is more favourable.
Sailing used to be a way of life in Shetland when fishermen would set off for the far fishing grounds under sail. Nowadays, these boats are used mainly for pleasure. When I was a child we used to look forward to the regatta and all the visiting crews coming to the isle, it was a great community social event.
In times gone by fishermen used to row off to their larger vessels in wooden Shetland model boats known locally as “Yoals”. There are now mostly used to race in annual rowing regattas, most districts have their own yoal which is crewed by members of the community, male and female, young and old.
The Bergen to Shetland Races involve ocean going yachts that compete in the annual event, leaving from the port of Bergen in Western Norway to Lerwick harbour. It started in the 1980s and now is a major competitive sailing event, attracting many international entries.
Shetland also acted as a host to The Tall Ships Race most recently in 2011; involving mainly larger sailing vessels and to encourage training and international friendship for young people in the art of sailing.