From Myths to Meids: Maritime Heritage of Fair Isle, Papa Stour and Skerries

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Abstract

Shetland has a rich and diverse maritime heritage which spans at least 5000 years of history and is a topic of interest for people across the globe. During 2016/2017 a coastal character assessment was conducted for the whole of Shetland as part of ongoing work for the Shetland Islands Marine Spatial Plan (4th edition). The assessment detailed the geology, land use, landscape character and history of the coast through desk based research and on-site surveys. While conducting the surveys, I often found the remains of structures along the coast, but struggled to find any information readily available to tell me what they had been used for. Often there was a single sentence, “unroofed structure depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Orkney & Shetland (Shetland) 1881)” I began to look at more anecdotal records which often had the answers I had been looking for. I wondered about the possibility of combining surveys of the physical remains found along the shore with the written and spoken records in the archives and people’s memories of the stories passed down through the generations, as it is the people and their stories that made these places interesting and keep the island heritage alive. Late in 2017, I received a small pot of Heritage Lottery Funding to trial out my idea. Initially 4 islands; Fair Isle, Foula, Papa Stour and Out Skerries, were chosen to keep the research areas relatively small. However, this project became much bigger than I first anticipated and sadly due to weather and time constraints I was unable to reach Foula. I hope this will be rectified in the near future. I believe the project has been a success and have thoroughly enjoyed spending time on each of these islands over the past year, meeting new people and viewing some beautiful landscapes. This project has the potential to be a starting point for the communities to safeguard these sites and oral history, connect with like minded people and groups, and create a Shetland wide project. I hope it has opened a door for more research in the future and will encourage more folk to visit these fascinating islands.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherNAFC Marine Centre
Number of pages85
Volume1
Edition1
ISBN (Print)978-1-9160042-0-7
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2020

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