Saturday, 23 January 2016

NorthLink Ferries’ Guide to BBC’s Shetland dramas

THE BBC television series #Shetland, which brings Ann Cleeves’ crime novels to life, has attracted attention from as far as Australia and continues to bring a glimpse of the Northern Isles to people across the globe. With the third series starting this month (January), #NorthLinkFerries – which sails daily between the Scottish mainland and Orkney and Shetland – has selected four Shetland locations and attractions featured in the programme, for visitors inspired to travel to the most northern part of the British isles. 

Up Helly Aa

The first series of Shetland focused on Up Helly Aa, Europe’s largest fire festival. This Viking-themed annual event attracts thousands of visitors to the island, with the largest event of its kind held in Lerwick, Shetland’s capital.

Up Helly Aa takes place on the last Tuesday of January and sees marches, traditional music, and a torch-lit procession before the burning of a Viking long boat, known as the Galley.

Fair Isle

Series two of the programme saw Detective Inspector Perez travel to a bird observatory on Fair Isle following the death of a scientist.
Lying midway between Sumburgh in Shetland and North Ronaldsay in Orkney, this small island is full of character and is best known for its intricate knitwear, which can be found on the catwalks of London, New York, and Paris Fashion Weeks.

The stranded unique style of knitting which features bands of geometric patterns originated on Fair Isle many years ago and is now incorporated into designs created by leading brands such as Alexander Wang and Ralph Lauren.

As well as its crafts and cultural heritage, the island, which becomes covered in heather and wildflowers in the summer, is a bird-watchers dream. It is one of Shetland’s best places to spot birds and is home to its own sub-species of wren and field mouse. The Fair Isle Bird Observatory is a great spot to seek out and learn more about a range of birds and mammals that live on or close to the island. 

Crofthouse Museum 

The Shetland Crofthouse Museum acted as the fictional Crofting Museum in the second series of the programme.

Free to enter, the site outside Boddam on the mainland allows visitors to step back in time. The Crofthouse has been restored to its original appearance in the 1870s with box beds, a peat fire, and garden path leading to a repaired watermill.

St Ninian’s Isle

The UK’s largest active sand tombolo, St Ninian’s Isle was the inspiration for Ann Cleeves’ Dead Water novel and the location for much of the second series of Shetland. This natural sand causeway on the west coast of Shetland links the South Mainland with the isle and is easily accessible from Bigton.

Often featured in promotional materials and photographs due to its picturesque landscape, the sandy beach was voted as one of the ‘best places to swim’ alongside those in the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Australia by a leading travel magazine in 2013.

NorthLink Ferries – Called the ‘North Boats’ by locals, the overnight NorthLink Ferries service between Aberdeen and Shetland features in the third batch of the BBC’s Shetland dramas.

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