"We never feel like we own it; we are custodians looking after it for the future," Rachael told me as she explained the history and her deep-seated love of the Boatman's House.
The Boatman's House, where we were to spend the weekend, dates back to 1854 when Hermaness Lighthouse was built to aid navigation. Clinging to the hostile slopes of Muckle Flugga, a rocky outcrop off the north coast of Unst, Britain's most northerly lighthouse still shines a guiding light across the water to those at sea – the Boatman’s House is part of the story of this iconic lighthouse.
I often drive past traditional Shetland crofthouses and wonder what they’re like inside. These are buildings that have fascinated me since I was little. Their simple lines, symmetry, and the way they bed into the landscape almost seamlessly continues to inspire my imagination in the same – perhaps less visually attractive way – that they continue to inspire artists and poets to commit pen or paint to paper.
I couldn’t say no when Steven and Debbie invited us to Yell to enjoy a weekend in Peerie Bugarth. The house offered all the charm and beauty of a traditional crofthouse but offered the comfort and space of a modern home.
“The winding voes and lakes of Clousetter, are wildly disordered by the irregular encroachments of the hills among which they run. Nature, from mere rocks and water, without the assistance of a single tree, has presented ceaseless varieties of interesting scenery.” ~ Samuel Hibbert (1818)
Clousta is an ‘old place’ – it has that sense, as if you’ve suddenly stumbled off the map. It’s a beautiful corner of Shetland’s West Mainland, inconspicuously tucked away somewhere between Eid (Aith) and West Burrafirth.
I woke on the night and heard footsteps – it was her – I nudged my husband and said, “ssshhh, can you hear her?”
I was on high alert, we were staying in the West Wing of Busta House Hotel, and I knew that this was part of the building she haunted.
Busta sits, tucked away on the shores of Busta Voe, just a few miles from the village of Brae. Today it’s a three-star hotel placed in an idyllic rural location in one of Shetland’s most beautiful historic houses, but it also has its own unique ghostly tale to tell.
A few months ago, during the school’s May long weekend, we headed north to the most northerly island of Unst to stay at Noosthamar – a picturesque self-catering holiday home overlooking the sandy shores of Burrafirth.
Unst is a two-ferry hop from Mainland Shetland and has a community of about 650 people. Getting to Unst is easy on the inter-island ferries that serve the isles and are operated by the Shetland Islands Council.
In early August we stayed in an award-winning self-catering cottage in Fetlar. The Lodge sits tucked above the shore, overlooking Lambhoga, and won the 2019 Lux Life’s most Tranquil Accommodation award. And wow, what a spot. As you drive into Houbie, the heart of the island, The Lodge comes into view. Nestled in the shadow of the impressive, if imposing, Leagarth House to which the Lodge was built to serve; originally as a gardener’s cottage for the early-20th-century mansion. The Lodge was built in 1900 for then-owner Sir Watson Cheyne, a pioneering surgeon who grew up in Fetlar.
Shetland is peppered with beautiful old buildings, and none are more evocative and thought-provoking than some of our old church buildings that are found dotted around the islands. Once seats of spiritual worship and ecclesiastical power, many are now privately owned and have undergone refurbishment. Varda self-catering, situated on the island of Yell, is one of these.
Interested in staying somewhere but not sure what to do in the local area? Let Shetland with Laurie help you. In this post, I have teamed up with Karen & Neil Hay who gave us the keys to their newly established self-catering chalet in the village of Vidlin on Shetland's east mainland and told us to explore...
Hello from Laurie
Hello, and welcome to my blog. I hope that you find what you're looking for - whether you're planning that perfect holiday or maybe you're from Shetland and looking for some 'home' inspiration. Hopefully, there is something here for everyone.