I have lived in Shetland since 1996. My husband, 2 infant daughters and 3 cats moved up from South London because we wanted a better place to bring up our children.
Since early childhood, I have always wanted my own pony and was never allowed. I did, however, learn to ride. When we finally found a house to buy in Shetland, after renting for a few months, it had 5 acres so I started to rescue old ponies that needed a retirement home.
I predominantly wrote the blog for my two daughters, who were away at school, then university, on mainland UK so they could see what was going on at home and not feel left out. The main focus of the blog is my daily life, my thoughts/feelings and my animals.
Obviously, there are the 6 Minions (my rescue Shetland ponies). I also have a small Icelandic horse stud – we breed, ride, train and compete. There are then 4 rescue Shetland sheep – The Boyzenberries. They are very tame, like dogs, come when they are called and are very entertaining. 2 dogs and 1 cat plus 9 chickens!
We had a phone call from Visit Scotland requesting if we had any ponies that could wear a Fair Isle sweater. We are used to weird requests! At the time we had about 30 breeding and riding Shetland ponies so we looked around and wondered who would be most amenable to this job.
Visit Scotland sent up a photographer and we drove him round our area showing him a variety of potential locations, talking about the best lighting for the shots. We did a few evening shots, worked out what helpers we would need and the next day, bright and early, we set off to create an internet sensation!
My favourite place in Shetland is a croft a few miles down the road. Situated in a glaciated valley, this is sheltered winter accommodation for my Icelandic mares and their foals in one field full of grass as well as the Shetlnd ponies who have a larger hill field. There is evidence of possibly a substantial Neolithic settlement and I walk my dogs, with my little ponies following, trying to imagine how folk lived in those ancient times. It is a very good place to think, to chat with the ponies and to put the world back into perspective.
The best thing about living here is the remoteness. I love that. I love not being part of the rat-race and not being dragged along the materialistic route of life. I didn’t want my daughters brought up like that either.
The worst thing about living here – postal charges by couriers. It’s a rip off especially when the thing could go in an envelope with a first class stamp!
Shetland’s problems are mostly that that out-lying islands do not receive the support and funding like the main island. Everything is in Lerwick, our capital, and outwith, you are just another forgotten annoying statistic.
Yes, I have visited some. There are still others on my list. My favourite one, so far, is Unst, though each one has its own merits. Unst has some breathtaking scenery.
Yes, I do. It is a good thing. Shetland is a very well kept secret and, apart from folk thinking that there are murders every week, I think our visitors are surprised at just how amazing Shetland is.
I don’t see myself moving from Shetland. I really cannot imagine myself living anywhere else, to be honest. There is a magic and I feel it every time I return from south. When the little plane lands on the runway into the sea, I am so happy to be home. Everything feels right again.
My blog is called My Shetland. My contact details are there. If you want to visit, give me a shout. I always enjoy introducing folk to my animal family.