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Place-name of the week – a world tour

Published: 02 July 2020

As schools break up, many folk will be disappointed that they have had to cancel planned holidays, so instead of pining for your cancelled trip why not take our challenge and visit all corners of the world without leaving Shetland, or even the safety of your home by looking at maps and directories

Start your tour in Scotland, taking in Musselburgh (Uyeasound), Traquare (Mid Yell), Mingary (Westsandwick), Ullinish (Burravoe), Tighnabruaich and Eynhallow (Brae), Braemar (Whalsay, Scalloway, Lerwick and Dunrossness), Ranish (Sandness), Ailsa Craig (Scalloway), Rockall (Sound), Kildary (Gulberwick) and Suilven (Toab). If you’re an island-bagger, seek out Scapa in Scalloway, St Kilda in Lerwick and Sandwick, Jura in Muckle Roe and Arran in Lerwick. For a little bit of England find Lindisfarne in Whalsay, Giggleswick in Burravoe, Brookside in Gremista and Truro in Sound. Visit West Ham in Bressay, Park Lane in Lerwick, Harley Street in Scalloway or London in Eshaness, Fetlar, Tingwall or Westsandwick; this international location also includes Glasgow, Egypt and Canada!

If Scandinavia is your preferred location, seek out Olasund in Burravoe, Alasund, West Yell, Ulvik in Vidlin and Fugloy in Scalloway. Venture into Europe and visit Rhodes in Voe, Palmoula in Whalsay, Acquero in Scalloway and Thalassa in Sound.  Or head further east and see Babylon (Scalloway), Baltic Cottage (Skeld), Kazan (Lerwick) and Delhi (Ollaberry). Timaru (Weisdale), Wainui (Sandwick) and Taranaki (Scatness)are just a few New Zealand places reflected in local house names.

For American Independence Day take in the American Exchange and Woodville in Scalloway, then head for Batavia (Uyeasound), Louisville (Skeld), Wallacetown (Bixter), Arcadia (Weisdale), Kalamar (Whiteness), Everlades (Cunningsburgh), Colorado Cottage and Washington Cottage in Hoswick, and Nashville in Virkie.  Experience South America at Panama in Effirth, Negril in Quarff, and Coronda in Sound. Round off your tour by visiting Dublin and the green and pleasant lands of Ireland, before ending your journey at Valhalla – be it Voe, East Burrafirth, Weisdale or Gulberwick!

Choosing a new house name can be quite a challenge.  Many people use a Shetland or Old Norse name – re-using an old name, describing their new house by its location or features, or naming it after a favourite place or dialect word.  Others reflect holiday destinations or interests. It is easy to spot the football fans: Ibrox in Ollaberry and Sound, and Parkhead in Bressay, Whalsay, Weisdale and Ireland. What name have you given your home and why? Share your photos and tell us more by emailing placenames@shetlandamenity.org

Eileen Brooke-Freeman, Shetland Place Names expert, July 2020

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