29 May 2022
I joined the group in Aberdeen as we boarded MV Hjaltland, our overnight NorthLink ferry to Lerwick. We headed up to the deck to watch the granite city disappear into the distance before retreating back inside for dinner. There was a mixture of nerves and excitement for the journey ahead, with all sorts of remedies for sea sickness being suggested – chocolate ice cream for dessert seemed a likely story…!
After a (relatively) smooth night, the rugged cliffs and vast rolling green landscapes of Shetland appeared on the horizon. With the sun rising before 4:00am, it was already bright sunshine by the time we docked at the harbour around 7.30am. I couldn’t wait to explore Lerwick, and after dropping off my bag at the hotel headed straight into town.
It was surprisingly lively in the narrow streets of Lerwick, considering many of the shops had yet to open for the morning. After window shopping along Commercial Street (which has the highest proportion of wool shops I’ve ever seen) I headed over to Mareel, our venue for the evening concert. Sitting right on the waterfront, it boasts stunning views across the crystal clear waters over to the island of Bressay, where some of the musicians would cycle around the following morning.
After some encouragement from our producer, Stuart, I had brought my accordion along to perform in the folk session which makes up the second half of the programme. It was an amazing experience to play alongside such fabulous musicians, and to hear Alastair and Ailie perform a stunning set of tunes from Shetland in that setting was so moving.
The next day we had a rare luxury on tour – a day that was (mostly) at leisure, although the morning saw a performance for the residents of Lerwick’s Edward Tomason House, with some of our audience even taking to the floor for a dance in front of our chamber ensemble!
These Scottish Creations concerts have been all about storytelling through art and music, and the story of my first Scottish Ensemble trip to Shetland is one I won’t soon forget!
Chris Gemmell, Development and Projects Assistant
We travelled on NorthLink Ferries to Shetland – thanks from us for their support of our travel.
Travelling back to Aberdeen
After a flying, very special and memorable visit to Shetland, we headed off to Aberdeen on the overnight NorthLink Ferry. A beautiful sunny and calm departure. However, I now understand why so many people were eating in the restaurant straightaway… As we headed out onto the open sea, the movement on the boat got rather interesting and challenging. This is often the case, we were told, as the Atlantic Ocean meets the North Sea… thank goodness for sea bands and ginger beer!!Once we’d passed the stunning and dramatic cliffs of Fair Isle, it thankfully calmed. A good few of us stayed up on the top deck, gulping fresh air, embracing the horizon and soaking up the views over the Orkney Isles. The sun setting gloriously down upon them. A wee Kirkjuvagr Orkney gin nightcap and off to sleep, if you were lucky!
Liza Johnson, violin