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The Turnbull tragedies


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^ Its not the only one. There are at least two similar stories fro the Ness that are still remembered. Both bridal parties, one belonging to Noss who went through ice on the Spiggie Loch, and another with Havra connections that did the same on the Vatster Loch at Bigton.

Unlike the Turnbulls, who in their day were deemed 'important' enough for a written record to be left, those at the Ness appear to have just been 'ordinary' folk, so unless in local oral history they've pretty much vanished in to the mists of time.

The 'problem' with some Shetland lochs and the ice on them is that some of the lochs are there principally due to natural springs feeding in to the loch bed, and due to the continuous movement in the water that creates where they exist, and, during a period of frost, that water being marginally warmer than the standing water's surface, any ice which forms is inevitably much thinner than elsewhere surrounding it.

Locals used to know where such springs were, if they existed, and what the depth of the water was likely to be in any given part of a loch, so could, if conditions permitted, go on the ice with relative safety. That knowledge has now been all but lost as folk don't walk any distance any longer, so shortcuts ove rice, when available are irrelevant.

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