“From Wednesday to Friday, I was with Laurence Tulloch, who is a renowned storyteller from Yell. Laurence picked me up from Fort Charlotte and our first day was spent on Whalsay. Our first point of call was Symbister House (which is now part of the islands school). Next to this was a small museum run by a couple of lovely, mature ladies. After encountering the ‘mainland accent’, it was something of an aural shock to try and understand what these ladies were saying! The Whalsay accent is unique (as far as I have heard). I fervently hope that this kept alive with future generations.
Next we went to the Hanseatic Bod on the harbour-front and then we toured the rest of Whalsay. All too soon we were back on the ferry ….”
The rest of this article is available as Shetland Diary on the Articles and Reviews page.
How do I get to Whalsay? Loganair (part of the Flybe group) fly from Aberdeen, Belfast, Benbecula, Birmingham, Campbeltown, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Guernsey, Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey, Leeds/Bradford, Kirkwall, London (Gatwick), Manchester, Manston (Kent), Newquay, Norwich, Southampton and Stornoway to Sumburgh airport on the southern tip of mainland Shetland. Or, you could travel by Northlink ferry from the ferry terminal in Aberdeen. To get to Whalsay, you will need to catch the inter-island ferry from Laxo, which is about 20 miles north of Lerwick.
How do I get around Whalsay? The easiest way to get around Whalsay is by bringing your own car on the ferry. However, there is a taxi service on the island. Alternatively, you can get to most places around Whalsay on foot.
What’s worth visiting on Whalsay? Symbister House is a large, Georgian mansion overlooking picturesque Symbister Harbour. Also in Symbister is the Pier House. This is a Hanseatic Bod, that was used by German merchants in the 18th century. There is also a ruined iron-age Fort called the Broch of Huxter. This is located on an islet in the Loch of Huxter towards the south-east of Whalsay.
Where can I stay on Whalsay? Oot Ower Lounge have self-catering chalets available to rent on Whalsay. There is also connection facilities for caravans and camper vans and a small area for tents here. Grieve House is one of the famous Shetland Camping Bods. It offers self-catering accommodation on Whalsay in a traditional building known as a ‘Bod’.
Any other information on Whalsay? The broad and distinctive Whalsay accent varies subtly from place to place on Whalsay. The dialect is possibly the most distinctive in Shetland. To listen to a Whalsay dialect, click here. For more information on Whalsay please read my Shetland Diary.