Tag: Alex Garrick-Wright

Autumn vibes

Welcome to this October issue of Shetland Life. This issue has a real autumn feel as we get under the skin of life in Shetland. We visit Bressay crofter Chris Dyer and fly south to Fair Isle in search of migrant birds with photographer and avid birder Rebecca Nason.

If tractors and binoculars aren’t your bag, then we journey to Germany with Shetland Classic Car Club and find out about their most ambitious road trip to date. Ryan Taylor explores the growing convoy of trucks that the Leslie brothers are accumulating at Northwards and Jim Gray takes to the skies and investigates a Second World War air crash at Sumburgh.

October is also the month of ghosts and phantoms, and with Hallowe’en around the corner, Alex Garrick-Wright takes a look at some of the spirits of the north – seeking out ghostly tales from Northmavine, Yell, Unst and Fetlar.

As the nights begin to draw in, we begin to think more about winter projects and how to look after nature in our garden. Peter Spriggs shares a hedgehog house that is great fun to make with the family. You may also be noticing the need to turn the thermostat up a notch or two as the cold sets in? So, Ali Grundon Robertson is looking at ways we can improve our homes, making them more energy-efficient as we move into winter.

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

Remember to send any comments or suggestions you may have to sleditor@shetlandtimes.co.uk. 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 https://shop.shetlandtimes.co.uk/pages/subscriptions#shetland-life and let us know if you have any comments or suggestions at sleditor@shetlandtimes.co.uk.

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


Welcome to this month’s issue of Shetland Life. April has come in with a bang, the clocks have changed, and we’re beginning to really feel the returning sun in the evenings.

Join Shetland Life for this April issue as we take to the seas again, but this time we’re heading underwater to discover the fate of the Spanish Armada vessel, El Gran Grifón, with Dr Colin Martin who led excavations on the wreck in the 1970s. We also hear the poignant and tragic tale of HMS E 49 which was lost in the First World War, and Laurie Goodlad takes to the water and discovers the joy of snorkelling in the first of a series where readers are invited to Challenge the Editor.

Elsewhere, Ali Grundon Robertson talks beach cleaning, and Alex Garrick-Wright meets Dirk Robertson on the eve of his exhibition at Shetland Museum & Archives. We also welcome Misa Hay to our team, and she talks us through all things gardening in Shetland. We’re delighted to have Misa with us. She has been growing from her garden in Tingwall for a number of years, producing food for her family and the table, fresh from the garden. She writes a very inspiring blog about gardening at 60 north which you can find at www.myshetlandgarden.com.

There’s so much to shout about in Shetland at the moment, and with the clocks springing forward we’re now enjoying longer days, so please let us know how you spend the light nights, are you getting out into the garden or perhaps packing a picnic after work and heading to the hills? 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.

It’s been encouraging to see so many new subscribers joining our readership and signing up to the printed magazine subscription during the first three months of 2019. Remember you can subscribe to Shetland life online at https://shop.shetlandtimes.co.uk/pages/subscriptions#shetland-life and let us know if you have any comments or suggestions at sleditor@shetlandtimes.co.uk.

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

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…

May’s issue: out now!

“May you live in interesting times”. This old Chinese curse might have sounded more like a blessing to our ears until recently (when times really did start to get a bit more interesting).
We certainly are living through interesting times on a global, national and local scale. And however cursed we may feel due to the incompetency of certain politicians, the uncertainty of our economic future and the cuts to public services, we can reassure ourselves that things will surely get better eventually (although I think they will probably need to get quite a lot worse first). In the meantime, at least we’ll have plenty to talk about.

On that cheery note, I’d like to say congratulations to all our newly elected councillors and wish you all the very best in your new posts. It’s certainly not an easy job you’ve chosen, but I hope it will be a rewarding one.

To reflect all the current political goings-on, this month’s Shetland Life is taking a look at some of our big issues. First up, we visited Bressay to find out how the local community are dealing with some of their issues (depopulation, an aging population, school closure etc.). It was inspiring to hear how the community has come together to take positive action. And if you haven’t yet visited the Speldiburn Café, then I suggest you do.

At a recent Althing debate, the motion “The time is right for Shetland autonomy” was resoundingly defeated. But perhaps the idea is not so far-fetched after all. Alex Garrick-Wright got into his time machine and travelled to The Shetland Times Office in 2022, where he unearthed future copies of this magazine and read about Shetland’s surprising rejoining with Norway. It sounds as the results of the Shetland/Norway referendum are being hotly disputed in the press five years from now – seems like nothing changes.

The month in music…

Roll up, roll up for April’s musical extravaganza! Here are just a few of the music related features we have for you this month:

Chris Cope talks to Neil Riddell and Davie Gardener. Just what does the role of music promoter entail?

Fiddler’s Bid Maurice Henderson takes us on his favourite walk – and shares a reel inspired by the beauty of Fetlar’s Moo wick.

Alex Garrick-Wright delves into the quirky world of local band, Big Time Quell. And if you haven’t heard their music yet, here’s a taste of what you’ve been missing:

Aleks McKay interviews Siobhan Tekcan of Shetland Community Orchestra, while Ishbel Mackenzie reports on her recent experience of taking part in the BBC Ten Pieces initiative.

Tune in, rock out

This month, Alex Garrick-Wright takes a look at one of Shetland’s best-kept secrets; the brilliant web comedy, Heavy Metal Buffet TV.

The Heavy Metal Buffet is one of Shetland’s most prolific music organisations; each year they run the highly-acclaimed HMB festival, three days of rock and heavy metal which feature dozens of acts across multiple stages and venues, They also somehow find time to produce a regular, free podcast which covers gigs, reviews and events from the Shetland rock scene.

Curious to find out more? The first series will be available later on this year. In the meantime, check out the first series.

If you go down to the woods today…

…you’re sure of a big surprise. Who would have expected to find life-size dinosaurs in Aith?

In March’s Shetland Life, Alex Garrick-Wright ventures into Michaelswood to find out how the dinosaurs came to Shetland. Alexa Fitzgibbon captures the magic of this very special place in some beautiful photographs.

If you like to get out and about in Shetland, what’s your favourite place to go? Pop a comment in the box below and share your recommendations.

December’s issue out now!


A word of warning. If you are in any way veering towards the “Bah Humbug” end of the spectrum when it comes to Christmas, you should probably steer well clear of Shetland Life this month and go and buy yourself a more sober publication instead. This month, our elves have been working around the clock to bring you a magazine which is dripping with festive cheer: we have the spirits of Shetland Christmases past, present and future and enough photos and features to keep you entertained until the end of this year.
As you can see from our front cover shot, we had a lovely golden-haired elf helping us with our work this month. She’s pictured during a flying visit to the COPE Christmas shop. As well as leaving a few early presents in the stockings, our elf checked Santa’s post-box. It was full of letters, and I’m not surprised – did you know that if you post your Santa letters at COPE you are guaranteed to get a reply from the great man himself?

While we’re on the subject of Santa and gifts, many years ago, Father Christmas kindly left me a copy of this very magazine in my stocking. It was not long after I had moved to Shetland, and I remember thoroughly enjoying it. I mention this on the off-chance that Father Christmas might be reading this editorial and be in need of some inspiration. Shetland Life makes a great stocking filler, and lasts so much longer than a packet of nuts.

We begin this month with the spirit of Christmas present. We were delighted when Santa agreed to give an exclusive interview to our very own Jeff Merrifield. You can learn all about the tracks of Father Christmas’ life in this month’s magazine. We also have award winning apprentice butcher Chris Wright’s tips on choosing meat for the big day, Anne Dickie’s advice on hosting festive dinner parties, some Christmas craft activities from Helen Robertson and our Through da Keyhole Christmas special in what must be the most festive home in Lerwick.

This is followed by some Christmas nostalgia, with Douglas C. Smith’s account of a wartime Christmas party, artist Amy Gear’s reflections on Christmases long ago, and some beautiful photography by Dennis Coutts.

We then move onto the spirit of Christmas future. And if this makes you think of a hooded spectre pointing silently to a gravestone, then don’t worry – it’s far jollier than that! Alex Garrick Wright is already anticipating what spirits he’ll be enjoying over the holiday season. He also makes some hilariously entertaining predictions about what will be on the pages of this magazine in the December 2036 edition.

All this and so much more!

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Father Christmas for giving me six extra pages to fill this issue, and I also want to thank the Shetland Life team for having been such fun to work with these last few months. Finally, to all our wonderful readers and contributors I hope you have a lovely Christmas and a very happy New Year. Keep warm and well, and see you in 2017.

The spirit of Christmas yet to come


If you’re replenishing the drinks cabinet in preparation for Christmas which is very-soon-to-come then you cannot afford to miss Alex Garrick-Wright’s recommendations for Yuletide spirits. There are some real eye openers in his selection of locally available beverages.

Time travelling Alex has also ventured forth to Shetland in the year 2036. Luckily for us, he managed to pay a visit to the Shetland Times office, where he grabbed a copy of Shetland Life’s December issue twenty years from now. You can read some selected extracts from the 2036 issue in this month’s magazine. No spoilers here – suffice to say it looks like there are amusing times ahead!

October’s issue out now!

As the nights lengthen and the mornings start to get nippy, the prospect of “home” becomes ever more appealing. Whether your house is an immaculate hymn to minimalism or the cosy place you hoard your bruck, I hope you enjoy our October issue.

Shetlanders are famed for their hospitality, and the owners of the two beautiful houses we visited for our “Through the Keyhole” feature certainly embodied this trait. On each visit, photographer Floortje Robertson and I were made to feel perfectly at home; we were offered tea, fancies, biscuits and (in one case) a swimsuit.

Keeping on the home theme, Missy Mullay of Lottie’s Laft talks about the inspiration behind her up-cycling business, while Louise Thomason’s fashion column this month focuses on loungewear (for these days when you really don’t feel like venturing over your own front door).

In keeping with the time of year (don’t forget that we have Halloween to look forward to at the end of this month!) some of this month’s features have a slightly spooky feel. Alex Garrick-Wright decided to test his mettle (and that of two companions) by staying overnight in Shetland’s most haunted house. You can read the first instalment in his two-part series on page 12. (As there is to be a second part, I can only conclude that Alex is alive and well, having suffered no life-threatening supernatural encounters. Unless the second part is ghost-written?) Floortje Robertson shares some atmospheric photographs of abandoned croft houses in Shetland and reflects on her life-long fascination with these eerie yet fascinating places.

It’s almost impossible to think about home without reflecting on the estimated 65 million people worldwide who have been displaced by conflict. Jacqui Clark meets Katharine Rose Williams Radojičić, a theatre professional who is involved in “Crew for Calais”. We also hear from Karen and David Clubb, Shetlanders living in Sweden who have opened their homes to four young refugees from Afghanistan. Two inspirational stories.

Shetland Life is always keen to nurture new talent, so we are delighted to welcome Aleks McKay to our team of contributors. Aleks has been getting some work experience this month, and has been a real asset to the magazine: look out for his interview with Foodbank volunteers Angela Nunn and David Grieve.

I’ve been doing a bit more travelling than usual this month, and have enjoyed short trips to Switzerland and Lithuania. On both trips I experienced warm welcomes, delicious cuisine and breath-taking scenery. Yet, no matter how much fun I have on my travels, nothing beats landing on the runway at Sumburgh or emerging from the ferry terminal into a fresh Lerwick morning. I feel very lucky to be able to call Shetland “home”.

 Another bonus the colder days bring with them is carte blanche to eat and drink just a little bit more than usual (for insulating purposes, you understand). November’s Shetland Life, therefore, is going to be all about food and drink. See you soon!