Category: Sport

Home or away

Welcome to this December issue of Shetland Life. This issue has a festive feel. We speak to Shetlanders who are spending Christmas home and away and Eileen Brooke-Freeman takes a look back at the sport of festive fitba in Shetland.

Stuck for a Christmas gift idea? Lindsay Tonner shares her pick of the best books of 2019 available in the Shetland Times Bookshop.

Elsewhere, Ali Grundon Robertson considers how we can all have a more sustainable Christmas without removing the joy and Gill Nadin shares a makkin project so that you can decorate your tree with some beautiful hand-crafted decorations.

December is a month filled with Christmas parties and to get your party started Alex Garrick-Wright has been to Mareel and sampled his pick of the best cocktails to get your celebrations off to a flying start.

All this and more in the December issue of Shetland Life – OUT NOW!

Remember to send any comments or suggestions you may have to And, whatever you’re up to, we love to hear about it, use our hashtag for the chance to be featured online or in the magazine #myshetlandlife.

As ever, have a great month and enjoy Shetland Life – OUT NOW!


Home or away Games:

The tissue box game
Toilet paper target practice

Face the cookie game

The cereal box game

Spaghetti tower marshmallow challenge

Summer bonanza! July issue OUT NOW

Welcome to this month’s issue of Shetland Life! Not only is this the day that your favourite monthly magazine is released, but it’s also the first day of the summer break for schools across Shetland, and all the children (and their parents and carers) will be gearing up for a summer of fun, adventure, and hopefully the odd ray of sunshine to boot. Shetland Life wants to help get your holidays off to a flying start, so the July issue contains an action-packed summer holiday bucket list for all the family. This cut-out checklist can be folded away in a jacket pocket, pinned to a fridge or snapped on a smartphone for quick reference. We want to thank all of you who got in touch with your suggestions – they have all been included in the list. Simply tick them off as you go, and remember to tag #myshetlandlife in your photos so we can see where your adventures take you.

Elsewhere we find out more about the sea-eagle in Shetland’s history with Eileen Brooke-Freeman as part of a new exhibition at Shetland Museum & Archives that traces the history and persecution of this impressive bird, now absent from our landscape.

Ali Grundon Robertson challenges the reader to go plastic-free for July, and our own editor gets challenged and put through her paces with the Tingwall barbarians as part of the Challenge the Editor series.

We have a fantastic sporting feature as Dougie Grant takes a look back over 90 years of hockey in Shetland, and Alex Garrick-Wright goes inter-galactic as he takes a look at the Shetland Space Station in Unst.

All this and more in the July issue of Shetland Life – OUT NOW!

Remember to send any comments or suggestions you may have to And, whatever you’re up to, we love to hear about it, use our hashtag for the chance to be featured online or in the magazine #myshetlandlife.

Even if you’re not in Shetland, you can still keep up-to-date with all the latest. Remember you can subscribe to Shetland life online at and let us know if you have any comments or suggestions at

As ever, have a great month and enjoy Shetland Life – OUT NOW!

Simmer Dim

Welcome to this month’s issue of Shetland Life. This is the Simmer Dim, or midsummer, and we are spoiled with daylight –  basking in it for up to 19 hours a day. This means more opportunities to get out and about. With this in mind, Shetland Life have been getting out too. This month we head to Fethaland, Hoswick Visitor Centre and Alex Garrick-Wright takes to the water to find out about competitive rowing as the season kicks off.

Having so much daylight has other implications, and demands other aspects of our time – in the garden everything is bursting into life. Shetland has a very short growing season – under 100 days – that means that most of our growing is done now. With this in mind Ali Grundon Robertson visits local producers at Turriefield in Sandness and Misa shares some of her tips for the garden this month.

And you’ll remember Fenton and Friends from last month? Yes, they’re back for more adventures this month!

Next month the schools break for the summer holidays, and we would like to help you make the most of them. We’re compiling a summer holiday bucket list for you to cut out and take on your adventures. But we need your help. Do you have a favourite place to visit, picnic or play? If so, get in touch and let us know and maybe it will be added to the list. Send your suggestions to And, whatever you’re up to, we love to hear about it, use our hashtag for the chance to be featured online or in the magazine #myshetlandlife.

Even if you’re not in Shetland, you can still keep up-to-date with all the latest. Remember you can subscribe to Shetland life online at and let us know if you have any comments or suggestions at

As ever, have a great month and enjoy Shetland Life – OUT NOW!


This month, yoga instructor Lana Hodge shares some yoga poses specially designed for mothers and mothers-to-be. Look inside the magazine to see Lana’s sequence for the “Salute to Baby” sun salutation with an easy-to-follow photo sequence by local photographer Sophie Whitehead.

Here are Lana’s 3 yoga poses to relieve back pain during pregnancy: 

  1. On the inhalation move your chest forward, then lean to your right. On the exhalation, round your back and shift your torso slightly back and then lean to your left. Rotate your body with a breath, leaning forward on inhalation and rounding your spine while moving back on the exhalation.
  2. Eagle pose (Garudasana) – Bring your two hands together with the elbows close to each other. Take the right arm around the left arm and make the right palm touch the left palm. At this point, your two arms should be intertwined like snakes. Keep your spine straight and relax your shoulders. Change hands.
  3. Gomukhasana pose – Extend your left arm up toward the ceiling with your palm facing forward. Then, bend your left elbow and bring your left hand to your spine. Extend your right arm to the side with your palm facing down. Internally rotate your arm so your palm faces behind you. Then, bend your right elbow and bring your right hand up the centre of your back. Tuck your forearm into the hollow of your lower back. Then change your hands to do the same for the other side.

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!

Going medieval

For this month’s sport issue, Alex Garrick-Wright looks into one of the most interesting and unusual sports available in Shetland: Medieval Armoured Combat.

Alex meets Scott Miller, who is Chair of the Scottish Knights League and also trains a Shetland group.Will Alex be brave enough to don some armour and give it a go?

You’ll need to buy the magazine to find out…

July Issue Out Now!

July’s Shetland Life is guaranteed to put a spring in your step!IMG_1944


Perhaps Emma Williamson’s inspiring tales of outdoor swimming will encourage you to head for a refreshing dip in the crystal clear waters we are so lucky to be surrounded by.

Or maybe you’ll head along to Shetland Rollerskating for some freewheeling fun after reading Alex Garrick-Wright’s article.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to train with Shetland’s strongest man, then you need wonder no more: the intrepid Andrew Hutton has done all of the hard work, so you don’t have to.

Of course, it’s not all about what’s on the outside. That’s why we’ve asked Raw Food Chef Heather Moncrieff to give us some tips on how to eat your way to feeling fantastic. We also spoke to Mind Your Head Project Manager, Anouska Civico, who shared some of the very important work being done in Shetland to support men’s mental health.

It’s not all health and fitness though. Our fashion writer Louise Thomason goes in search of the perfect wedding dress, Vivian Ross-Smith travels to Yell to meet Shetland Tweed, Chris Cope quizzes local musicians on the tracks that give them goose bumps and Jacqui Clark interviews visual artist Roxanne Permar.

We hope you enjoy it! Please remember we love to hear your feedback. So do feel free to drop us a line, or post a comment below.

Training with Shetland’s strongest man


In July’s Shetland Life, Andrew Hutton writes about his shift “on the Factory floor”. In this special guest blog post, he lists what his session consisted of.

The warm up for the warm up. This consisted of going into the adjoining field and walking up and down it a number of times. The field walk wasn’t just a case of wandering around: each turn in the field was marked out with string on evenly spaced fence posts. No short cuts here!


Weight training. Apparently our trek through the Whiteness countryside didn’t count as a proper warm up and soon enough, some kettle bells were introduced into the mix. Starting off with a 6kg kettle bell, I was asked to swing it for six reps. I was reminded to use my hips and not my back. This emphasis on the correct posture continued throughout the session.

Leg Raisers. With the help of straps suspended from the roof, I proceeded to raise my knees to my chest for 10 reps, before extending my legs straight out in front of me for 10 reps.

A cardio session. This was something I didn’t expect to be doing when I agreed to the Factory session!  I was asked to jog for around 20 metres before sprinting all out on the way back, repeating the process six times.

More weight lifting. Nowhere in The Factory had I seen a regular set of dumbbells, so I knew I was in for something new and exciting, and I wasn’t disappointed! On my way in, I had noticed some tyres leaning against the wall. Trainer Bryan Pearson soon had one of them on the floor and showed me the technique for flipping it. A wide stance, straight back and a good grip were key. This was actually good fun and gave a good sense of achievement. Luckily for me, Bryan decided we didn’t have time for the largest tyre, one which would have looked at home on a quarry truck!


The ‘Farmers Walk’. When I think of farmers, I think of cute caddie lambs. Unfortunately, there was no caddie lambs to hand, so old gas canisters were used. Having a good grip was the key to this exercise. Twice I raced around the drive way with these canisters. My forearms felt every step!

I asked Dhanni about the symbol used for The Factory logo: three shapes intertwined. Dhanni explained that the three shapes symbolised communication, learning and activity.

It was clear from my time in The Factory that this motto is paramount. No one works alone: there is always constant encouragement and advice going back and forth between everyone.

Fancy trying a Factory work-out for yourself? Get in touch via their Facebook page.








For the Love of the Game

Part of the reason Japan’s Rugby World Cup toppling of South Africa was so seismic is that rugby is a sport in which major upsets just don’t happen.

A motivated England side might just beat the All Blacks and a golden Scottish generation might cause a few Six Nations upsets, but this was much bigger than that. This was like Papua New Guinea beating Brazil’s footballers. This was the Albanian cricket team pitching up at Lord’s and gaining a hard-earned 10-run victory.

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Shetland’s rugby side are well used to coming up against incredible odds – and meeting them. Sometimes this can be in their favour, as with their recent 95-0 demolition of Ellon. While the scoreline indicates a total mismatch, Ellon had gamely made the journey up with only 11 players. Even with Shetland offering them the services of a couple of players, Ellon made the trip knowing they would lose, not even with a shred of hope of getting the result.

Frequently, Shetland are the ones encountering problems in giving themselves even passable odds of getting a result on their travels. At this level, rugby is not so much a game of putting out the strongest team possible as much as putting out whatever team is possible.

Last season saw Shetland’s campaign decimated by point deductions for failing to fulfil fixtures against Moray and RAF Lossiemouth, to the point where February’s victory over Moray dragged the team out from having a negative point total.

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In the summer, the inter-county in Orkney was essentially conceded to the neighbours from the start with Shetland unable to bring a full 15.

Rugby, it hardly needs saying, is a physically brutal and demanding game. The best teams in the world would struggle against the weight of numbers and without replacements to take the place of the players taking the brunt of the hits. For an entirely amateur team, the commitment necessary to compete in a league season involving a great deal of travelling and organising to ensure as full a squad as possible is significant.

So why do it? When in April, Shetland travelled to play RAF Lossiemouth, one of the league leading teams, they brought a squad of 12.

The final result was a 134-3 thumping, the only surprise being Shetland managed to get on the scoreboard with a penalty. In itself, this kind of fixture both raises and answers the question of why.

The rugby side are one of the only Shetland teams in any sport to field a side in a regular, mainland based league. In undertaking this, they are undertaking a great deal of challenges, but also a great deal of pride.

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Can’t get a full team out to take on one of the best teams in the league? That’s fine – front up, don’t shy away and take the defeat with the pride of knowing that you gave it your all. This appears to be the attitude, and that’s admirable and praiseworthy.

Plus when they’ve taken hit after hit and delivered the occasional thrashing to a team with problems they can entirely relate to, occasionally a game of rugby gets played that reminds all involved why they fell in love with the sport.

The rescheduled game against Moray in February was a prime example of this. A cracker of a match against the team that eventually finished third in the league, Shetland were able to pull off a formidable 15-10 victory. The week before that, they came agonisingly close to a rare away win, Lochaber just about coming out on top 19-18. Thrashing a team may provide some joy, being thrashed a strain of pride in having confronted the odds, but there’s nothing like a tight, competitive fixture to exemplify the thrill of sport.

This season, Shetland have had a predictably difficult start. Whitewashing of Ellon, and heavy defeats to Deeside and Ross Sutherland aside, however, they have been extremely combative and competitive.

This being rugby, and the odds being usually against them, the results haven’t tended to go their way. But where there’s pride, heart and determination, there’s always hope. One need only look at Japan to understand that the right cocktail of attitude and ability means there are no foregone conclusions.

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Photos: Kevin Jones