Founded in the 17th century to service Dutch herring fleets Lerwick is the only town in the Shetland Island, and hence the Capital. The language is English but with a style of its own and you may be forgiven for not catching what they say on the first pass. There are many minibuses that offer tours, not many full-size coaches exist on the island. Lerwick will remind you of past times, but the gems it hides go back even further. For those who like historic remains a trip to Jarlshof is a must. The sandstone buildings in Lerwick are interesting, they date from the 18th century but you won’t find shops of interest here unless you are looking for real harsh weather warm clothes then pop in the fisherman’s shops. We lived there for six months in 2002 so know the island well, and this old footage is a great introduction, especially to the Viking way of life you may not get to see.

The Town Hall is almost their only large hall and doubles as their cinema. When in season cod roe is a speciality and they have an internationally celebrated musical heritage, in particular, their fiddle playing. The rich archaeological sites are scattered and a good guide is essential, with many remains dating back some 5,000 years.

It is not just #thevikings that make #Lerwick and #Jarlshof special. Here are the tours likely to be on offer from your ship apart from walks around Lerwick. Don’t forget to try and get into the Up Helly Aa Exhibition that runs from May until September in the Galley Shed. See film.

Scenic Shetland and Jarlshof Settlement

Jarlshof is amazing, but will not take a whole day so expect it to be joined to a whizz round tour of Lerwick. The fishing industry is still strong but it happens at sea so there is little to see. The strong Viking connections will be fun stories. 

Travelling south you will pass the Island of Mousa, home of the best-preserved Broch (Iron Age drystone hollow-walled structure) in existence. On to Hoswick and a stop at the Hoswick Visitor Centre, a small souvenir shop and local museum about Shetland life, including information about the world-renowned Shetland weaving. Then on to the exceptional archaeological site of the Jarlshof settlement at Sumburgh, on the southern tip of the mainland. Jarlshof presents one of the most interesting remains of early human habitation and displays which was taken over by the Vikings. It still has monuments and ancient dwellings well preserved. There will be cobbled, narrow paths – see the film.

Scalloway and Award-Winning Fish and Chips

Scalloway is the fishing port. It is here you will find specialities like fresh cod roe if in season. The village is also home to the NAFC Marine Centre which provides training for the Fishing and Maritime industry. The centre also researches by breeding species of fish to determine if they may become farmable and sustainable in the future. They also have a programme to breed lobsters for release into the wild. You may pass the Loch of Tingwall with its Norse heritage and continue north to Brae. On arrival at Brae, you’ll be able to enjoy fish and chips at ‘Frankie’s’. No ordinary chippy, the café and takeaway has won the coveted ‘UK Number 1 Fish and Chips Shop’ award back-to-back in 2014 and 2015.

So we made the movie Devil’s Gate there which has a long story of being owned and passed around tax funds and never needing to be released. A sad era of the film industry. It is available on DVD and if Stuart St Paul gets to talk on your ship you can ask him of the many tales. Stuart is an award-winning screenwriter who has just written his first novel.

Cruise Heist has more than rough seas to deal with. Most crew and guests are totally unaware of the goings on in this great fiction thriller where South American money is smuggled aboard and the ship gets very rocky.

Out now on Kindle only. Paperback out later this year.

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