All posts by Genevieve White

June’s issue: out now!

With the dark nights of winter receding ever further into memory, the long-awaited Shetland summer is finally here. For many of us this means a couple of months of intense activity: an almost manic desire to soak up every last ray of sunlight on offer, even if it means abandoning the recommended eight hours of sleep for a couple of months.

What to do and where to go? Although Shetland has its (justifiably) renowned beauty spots, there are many more slightly off-the-beaten-track places that are deserving of a visit. Places where you can walk, go for a wild swim, set up camp or just take a picnic and enjoy the sunset.

One of the great things about compiling this particular issue has been perusing readers’ suggestions for Shetland “bests”. Such lists can be highly subjective and are often influenced by one’s personal memories – but this is what makes them so special. I hope that locals and visitors alike will find seasonal inspiration here.

Things are not just picking up weather-wise: da Street seems to have a new lease of life, with a number of exciting new enterprises appearing (or set to appear in the near future). The pop-up Taste of Shetland shop is a particularly welcome addition, and it’s great to hear that it’s being so well-supported by the local community. Now all we need is a beer garden in a light, sheltered location (potential entrepreneurs please take note: this is a definite gap in the market).

Have we missed anything out of our “Best of Shetland” issue? Do you disagree with any of our selected high­lights? Don’t forget to keep in touch with us via social media or email:

A new lease on Life

This is the 450th issue of Shetland Life. Since 1981, our magazine has been celebrating the Shetland community: its talented people, fascinating culture and rich history – and we’re still going strong.

We’ve been delighted by some of the feedback the magazine has received in the last few months: in addition to the positive comments we’ve heard from our loyal readers, we also won a national award in November last year. Does this mean we’re resting on our laurels? Certainly not! In order to mark 450 issues of Shetland Life magazine, we’re launching a new-
look magazine this month and gifting a free issue with every copy of The Shetland Times. We hope you’ll agree that our magazine is fresher, more contemporary and easier on the eye than it’s ever been before – while remaining just as full of life as ever.

We always welcome any feedback from our readers old and new, so please post your comments on Facebook, or contact:

We’ve made quite a few changes: you’ll notice we’ve introduced a variety of new features in our front and back pages. This month, our themed section in the middle pages showcases Shetland photography at its very best. We’ve devoted plenty space to interviews with leading local photographers and we hope you’ll enjoy looking at their exquisite work.

The way we work has evolved too. Our brand new editorial team is made up of Shetland’s most dynamic reporting talent to ensure wide-reaching and comprehensive coverage of the stories you’ll want to read about.

I’d like to thank all the contributors who’ve had a hand in shaping this issue, but I’m particularly thankful for the hard work and creativity of our designer Kenneth Shearer, who has made this magazine the thing of beauty you are now holding in your hands. We hope you enjoy it.

March’s Shetland Life: out today!

This magazine has featured many amazing women in its time, but this particular issue has pulled out all the stops to celebrate International Women’s Day, on the eighth of this month.

Thank you to all of our readers who nominated inspirational women for this month’s lead feature. It was great to read the reasons behind your choices, and to get as many of the nominees together as possible for our fun photo shoot with local photographer Leanne Macleod. It will come as no surprise to Shetlanders that there are such dynamic women in our midst, but this seemed like an especially good time to celebrate these islands’ strong tradition of female empowerment.

 This tradition can be traced right back to Shetland folklore. Where other representations of females may centre on the young and virginal maidens, the Shetland “sea midder” provides an altogether feistier female archetype. You can read more about this archetypal Shetland woman in Alex Garrick-Wright’s article.

 Marsali Taylor pays tribute to key woman in the Shetland suffrage movement – Christina Jamieson and Harriet Atherton Leask are just two of the pioneering women whose contributions are explored. Continuing the historical theme, John Coutts shares some photographs of well-known Shetland woman from the 1960s. 

In addition to our nominated women, we feature many more fantastic females within our pages. Poet Christine De Luca, artist Gail Harvey and baker Katja Stuebiger offer further examples of the diversity of female talent and determination here in Shetland.

Recent months have seen heated debate over the gender pay gap. It seemed timely to interview Heather Gordon, empowerment coach who has been visiting Shetland to lead training sessions for female council workers. What challenges do females continue to face in the Shetland workplace? This is the question we asked three local women: you can read their answers in the magazine.

For many of us, the most inspirational woman in our lives will be our own mother. If you’re looking to show your mum some love this month, make sure you check out some of our Mother’s Day gift ideas – we’ve been out and about sourcing local gifts to suit every budget. If you really want to make your mum something really special, follow Helen Robertson’s instructions and make her a beautiful petal brooch. If you’re a mother (or a mother-to-be) , why not treat yourself to some time out and follow local yoga teacher Lana Hodge’s step-by-step yoga sequences? 

All these tales of inspiration and innovation can leave you feeling tired, so you might want to take a break with some short fiction. Finally, we have a thoroughly entertaining short story by Bruce Eunson The Shetland Mount Rushmore. 

Our mystery male columnist the “Filskit Faider” wonders if these gendered celebrations run the risk of being a little exclusive. We hope that our male readers will enjoy this magazine Just as much as our female readers.

If you’ve enjoyed this issue, wait till you see next month’s. We’ve something extra-special up our sleeve for you. Until then!










Watch: Connoisseurs’ choice

This month, we asked Andrew Aitken, Catriona Barr and Charlotte Black to share their favourite places in Shetland for cycling, wild swimming and off-road running. We found their choices inspiring, so maybe you too will be tempted to try them out!

Here’s Andrew’s video of a 100 mile cycle around Shetland. If it doesn’t motivate you to get on your bike, we don’t know what will!

February’s issue – out now!

It’s the time of year when we begin to look forward to longer (and hopefully milder) days. Time to adjust the slothful habits of winter so that we can begin to blossom into fitter and more streamlined versions of ourselves.

With this in mind, our February issue focuses on sport and well-being. Shetland boasts such an incredible amount of welcoming clubs and organisations that even the most committed couch potato could find something to interest them. Whether you’re new to sport, or simply looking to find a new pastime we hope you’ll find some inspiration here.

While not exactly a couch potato, I’m well aware that I could do with being much more active. It was my sincere intention to try out all the sports featured in this issue, so that I could report back on my experiences here. Sadly, work commitments meant that I didn’t manage to achieve my goal. However, we have started playing regular family games of table tennis on the kitchen table, and once my ability level has raised above the guaranteed loser mark, I’d love to venture to the Friday night sessions at Sandwick. In the meantime, picking up all the shots I miss is probably fairly good exercise.

I might ease myself into my new sporty regime by going to one of Lana’s popular yoga sessions. Her Darth Vader breathing method sounds interesting, and it’s something I could certainly do with trying out round about deadline time, when hyperventilation is usually more the order of the day.

After a spot of yoga, I may feel sufficiently energised to continue in the sporty vein. A flick through the magazine offers a bewildering array of options (and I know that there are many more not mentioned in this issue). I could make the most of Shetland’s beautiful scenery and try kayaking or horse-riding. While I have never kayaked in Shetland, I have tried Icelandic horse-riding and it was an experience I would love to repeat.

Or else I might follow in the footsteps of Andrew Aitken, Catriona Barr and Charlotte Black and try out the favourite cycle routes, outdoor swims and off-road runs they describe so beautifully.

The only sport mentioned in this magazine which I might draw the line at trying is medieval armed combat. But never say never…

And after all that sport, it would definitely be time to treat myself to a massage. Angela Sinclair speaks to Shetland Life about her work and her “no hands” style of massage. You can win a session with Angela, by entering the competition at the back of the magazine.

As well as sport, we have Richard Shucksmith’s expert advice on how to photograph otters, life hacks from Bryan Peterson, an interview with the brains behind the new musical enterprise The Bop Club and much more!
We’ve been enjoying reading all of your nominations for inspirational Shetland women. There’s still time to make a nomination – please contact by February the 10th if you’d like a woman you know to feature in our special women’s issue.

Hope you enjoy the magazine.

Starting over……

January is an excellent month for taking stock and making plans. Setting aside some quiet time to consider the good, bad and the ugly of the year before, while reflecting on how to avoid the pitfalls of the past means the new year can be “just like starting over”.

We have a special Up Helly A’ theme, featuring an interview with Lerwick Guizer Jarl Stewart Jamieson and his family and recollections of country Up Helly A’s too.

Starting over…….

January is an excellent month for taking stock and making plans. Setting aside some quiet time to consider the good, bad and the ugly of the year before, while reflecting on how to avoid the pitfalls of the past means that the new year really can be “just like starting over” as a great, (bearded) legend once sang.

2017 was certainly a great year for our magazine: we had fun putting every single issue together and we were thrilled to scoop our national award at the end of the year. We’re working really hard to make Shetland Life even better, so you’ll see a few changes coming soon. Please don’t forget to keep in touch and tell us what you think.

Anyway, welcome to our first issue of this year. We have a special Up-Helly-A’ theme, featuring an interview with Lerwick Guizer Jarl Stewart Jamieson and his family, recollections of country Up- Helly-A’s from Marsali Taylor, a beautifully evocative piece of writing from poet James Sinclair, and vintage photography from Dennis Coutts. We hope you like our stunning front cover, courtesy of the talented illustrator Alexa Fitzgibbon.

Some extensive research conducted in the latter half of 2017 revealed that, for a sizeable part of Shetland’s population, the best thing about Up-Helly-A’ is not the sight of the galley burning or the long night of revelry which follows. No, it is the prevalence of the many magnificent beards, which light up the dark days and bring warmth to the coldest part of the year. That’s why the Shetland Life team has been working tirelessly to bring you a selection of some of this island’s hirsute hunks. Whatever your facial hair preference, I think you’ll enjoy our beard feature on page 12. If you’re new to beard-growing, we also have some beard maintenance tips, kindly provided by local barbers, Just Gents.

Another plus point about this month is the numerous opportunities it affords for us to get together and enjoy some of Shetland’s finest musical talent. A Winter Shetland Showcase promises to be a brilliant night of acoustic performances, and there will also be a great programme of musical entertainment at this year’s Fiery Sessions. Read more about both events on pages 16-18.
A classic New Year’s Resolution is to cut down on alcohol consumption. If the thought of going cold turkey fills you with dread, but If you’ve had a bit too much in the way of port and whisky recently, you may wish to start the year in a more Viking spirit, with a glass (or even a drinking horn) of mead. Find out more about Alex Garrick-Wright’s visit to Viking Mead in Scalloway on page 8.

We have plenty more to inspire, inform and delight. From Cooking Challenge finalist Karen Malone’s locally sourced vegan recipes to Richard Shucksmith’s underwater photography tips and COPE’s advice on new year gardening, this issue will get your year into gear.
For those of you who have included health and fitness goals in your list of New Year’s resolutions, don’t miss our special sport-themed issue which is coming up in February and which promises to be full of motivational stories and tips. See you then!

November’s issue out now!

This year’s Wordplay festival looks set to be one of the best yet. With a first-class guest list performing readings, panel discussions, children’s sessions and book signings along with several events for aspiring writers, it should be an invigorating few days. What a perfect way to lighten up what can otherwise be a dank and dreary month.

Although Wordplay may be our annual literary highlight, I think it’s fair to say that Shetland is a great place for lovers of literature to live, having year-round events for bookworms and budding writers.
Shetland Library plays a crucial role in helping to create a lively and lightsome culture around reading and books. It is a place very close to my heart. When my children were small, the library was our second home, and we were always given a warm welcome by the lovely members of staff (even being offered a lift to the Gilbert Bain when my son attempted some impromptu shelf-abseiling and split his ear open). When my toddlers were having a crabbit day, the promise of a trip to the library usually got them into a more reasonable frame of mind. Fast forward ten years, and it still has a second-home status, although the children like to make their own way there now…

Hopefully, our Shetland Library feature will give you a flavour of the warmth and liveliness of this very special place.

On arriving in Shetland, I was struck by how local writing talent was so well nurtured through writing groups and mentoring schemes. This supportive climate has allowed some exceptional talent to bloom. These islands have produced no shortage of writers, as a flick through this magazine will tell you: from the rapidly rising star of Malachy Tallack, to well-loved poets and novelists on the local literary scene, to up-and-coming writers such as Sally Huband (who speaks about her experience of winning a Scottish Book Trust New Writer award in this month’s magazine).

Of course, writing is just one type of craft at which Shetlanders do very well at. This being November (craft fair time) we have some crafty offerings of a different type too. If only the rules didn’t prevent me from entering this month’s competition! I will be seriously envious of anyone who wins the hamper of craft goodies we have up for grabs. Continuing the craft theme, we have the tracks of Wendy Inkster’s life, and a meet up with the maakers and yaakers of Anderson High school.

Of course, literature and knitting are by no means mutually exclusive, as the book Reflection apo hands so gracefully proves. It was a privilege to meet Laura Whittall and Ann Williamson to speak about the inspiration behind this project. As Ann pointed out, what could make a better stocking filler than this beautiful book? (Apart from the December Shetland Life that is).

There are loads of delights to look forward to this month: not just Wordplay, but ballet performances, theatre productions and so much more. Enjoy.

October’s issue: out on Friday the 7th!

With atmospheric conditions now at optimum level it is now time to start reading our supernatural themed issue – just in time for the lengthening nights of October and Halloween.

Local photographer Ivan Hawick is no stranger to spooky places. Autumn and winter nights often find him sitting alone in deserted spots around Shetland, patiently waiting for the perfect shot. Turn to page four for Ivan’s eerie photographs of haunted houses, and read the stories behind the images.

Readers of a nervous disposition would do very well to avoid Davy Cooper’s tale, “Lang lies Lowrie” on page seven. If, however, you enjoy the feeling of being terrified out of your wits, then go right ahead and read it. I challenge you to read a more gruesome story this month.

Social anthropologist Alexa Fitzgibbon has been studying local folklore since her arrival on these islands 11 years ago. Don’t miss her intriguing article, which thoughtfully explores the relationship between Shetland’s living and dead.

Regular contributor Alex Garrick-Wright has a keen interest in the supernatural. This issue, Alex looks into the events surrounding the Scalloway Witch Trials of 1616 and, in a separate feature, recounts some of the spooky Shetland stories collected by Victorian adventurer and artist John Thomas Reid.

The supernatural-fest continues, with tales gathered from around Shetland. With stunning photography by May Graham and illustrations by promising young artists Eilidh and Cailean Johnson, we think you’ll find this magazine scarily good.

September’s Shetland Life: out now!

This term looks set to be an exciting one for all of the staff and pupils at Anderson High School, as boxes are packed and plans made for the big move to the brand-new building at Staney Hill. It’s been interesting watching the school take shape so quickly over the last while and it will be great to see everyone settled in and enjoying their new space.

In order to commemorate this momentous move, we’ve decided to devote our September issue to education.
We get the ball rolling by meeting two Shetland teachers: one with a wealth of experience (the award-winning Irene Smith) and one new to teaching (the energetic Rhiannon Inkster). It was a privilege to speak to both of these women. Their dedication and enthusiasm to their work just shone through: with teachers like these, I’m beginning to see why my children have always seemed so excited about going to school every morning.

One of my favourite bits of this month was reading your recollections of school days: some amusing, some touching. Don’t forget to turn to page 10 to see what Christine de Luca, Jennifer Wadley and Charles Simpson (among others) have to say about their school days. The nostalgia fest continues in Dennis Coutts’ images of 1960s school days.
We all know that learning doesn’t stop at school though. Peter Tomlinson hears from two young people who are getting ready to fly the nest and study on the mainland, and we also hear inspirational success stories from local apprentices.

Jonathan Wills shares an amusing story of his part in a 1967 student demonstration and ex-teacher and writer Donald S Murray, who is currently touring schools on the mainland, shares the fruits of a recent creative collaboration.
All this and also the chance to find out about what the Taste of Shetland Food Festival has to offer, marvel at Richard Shucksmith’s tales and photographs of whale watching and delight in the winning entries to the Shetland Boat week competition.

Hope you enjoy the magazine and all the wonderful things on offer in Shetland this September.