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Shetland Nature Festival enjoys a bumper year

Published: 16 July 2019

The Shetland Nature Festival came to a close this weekend after a 9 day action packed programme.  Shetland Amenity Trust run the annual festival and this year the programme was bigger than ever before with over 70 events throughout Shetland.

The festival is a celebration of Shetland’s fantastic nature and wildlife and this year attracted over 1,000 participants to events throughout Shetland last week.  The Amenity Trust collaborated with a number of partners, businesses and community groups to put on the Festival which saw events taking place in Out Skerries, Fair Isle and Fetlar as well as at UnstFest and throughout the islands.  Many of the events were fully booked and there were lots of people attending the evening talks and Open Days at Sumburgh Head,NAFC Marine Centre, the Crofthouse Museum, Shetland Museum and Archives, Old Scatness, Quendale Mill and at the Viking Longhouse at Haroldswick .

Coasteering and sea kayaking events gave the more the adventurous among us the opportunity to see Shetland’s incredible environment and coastline from a different perspective.  Guided walks enabled participants to explore wildflowers up Ronas Hill, the history of Fladdabister, the geology of Scatness, and the incredible volcanic coastline of Eshaness.  The group that went otter hunting were lucky enough to see three otters. On Wednesday night, participants were treated to a unique trip to Mousa to explore the Island and Broch and see the Storm Petrels with the team at MousaBoats, SAT, the RSPB and the Regional Archaeologist.  The trip to Fetlar was fully booked and participants were treated to three Red-necked Phalaropes and trowie tales and folklore along the way.

The trip to Out Skerries was just the second for the Nature Festival and was done entirely in collaboration with the local community who organised and led the trip.  The Nature Festival headed to UnstFest last weekend to put on an Open Day at the Viking long House at Haroldswick where participants were able to dress up in Viking dress, play Viking games and see various artefacts with a nature theme.  The team also led a Beach Clean at Woodwick in Unst which attracted 30 participants and cleared 25 bags of rubbish plus large items of plastic, nets and ropes.

Paul Harvey leads the team at the Amenity Trust who put together the festival, he said, “It was great to see so many people getting involved this year, a really good range of local people and visitors.  We were really pleased to work with quite a number of community groups this year too, supporting them to put on events and showcasing what they have to offer, it really helped to make it feel like a community event.”

The team at Shetland Amenity Trust are now looking to their next big event, Shetland Boat Week, which will also be bigger this year.  It takes place from 5th to 11th August.