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A few thoughts on Shetland...


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I won't bore you all with the finer points but me and my partner are thinking of moving to the Shetlands next year and I'd just like you to list any advantages and disadvantages you feel about the islands. Whatever comes into your head(s)
I have been to the Shetlands myself, a while back in the summer of 1990 which was a hoot, but seeing a place on holiday is different to living there obviously. 
We lived on the Isle of Skye for a while which was brilliant but had to move back to England for family reasons and we've also lived several years near Land's End/Penzance so we have lived in places that are a bit "out of it". The weather varied obviously but found that Land's End was marginally wetter than Skye which is saying something!
I'm not a spring chicken, more an autumnal one
I'll be taking my freelance work with me as a Nordic language translator/print artist (as well as doing a bit for AgeUK..) .and a partner who turns her hand to anything basically but anyway..would just like to hear your thoughts on living on the Shetlands. The good and the bad.


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A bit like marmite - you either love it or hate it.


Both of you should both love it with a sort of made must-be-here passion.  Not one "might get used to it later" attitude.  That way lies separation imho.


Winters are tough.  You get used to the weather but if you rely on daylight to keep you sane, it can be dark (not night-time) for unceasing days.  You should be the types that if something breaks, you mend it with whatever is to hand.  Waiting for someone to come along is not going to happen really and if they do, it costs an arm, a leg and possibly even a kidney!  Self-sufficient is good.

You live with the weather, you don't tame your surroundings and don't make plans that cannot be changed.  Everything is at the whim of the Gods up here.

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Many thanks for your thoughts. If there is one thing I seem to hear a lot is that people are pretty friendly on Shetland and the rain, wind and darkness is a given I guess but then again with systems rolling off the Atlantic I guess it's what you're going to get. Interesting to hear what you think anyway and it's all useful. Thanks for that.

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  • 3 weeks later...

> friendly people.


<-- Lived here 3 years, not made any friends yet..


Tesco for us is a 110 mile round trip, 4 ferries, takes like all day..

Generally, the nearer you are to Tesco, the more expensive the property !

Nearest Dentist is a 110 mile round trip..

Getting a flu jab is difficult, as they will not sell you one on in the big island (Lerwickland.), but they will on the other islands.  There is nowhere else to get one here, unless you qualify for a free one.

Having your own transport is very useful, and large cupboards, freezers, fridges, and a backup powersupply.. (Battery Powerwall could be a good thing to have, I've a small 3kWh one that runs many things in the house for a day or two (Lights, computers, TV.), plus bottled gas for cooking and heating backup too.)

It's a bit windy at times.

It's not too cold, or too hot, which is nice.

Gardens tend towards being small.

Not many trees.

Internet speeds can be poor if you live far from a telephone exchange. (And even if you live near one, it may not have a fibre connection for a long time..)

TV reception can vary between, a relay transmitter with a few channels, to the bigger one with more, but not a complete range of them, so satellite dishes are common place. (Remember the wind factor..)

Many companies do not deliver up here, so be careful when choosing to buy something online/etc.

Some companies have a weird thing where they say they don't deliver, but on Amazon they do, but charge you £40, whilst on Ebay, they charge you £3..

It can be hard to get certain items delivered, such as aerosols, paints, batteries, or sensitive electronic equipment which can arrive non-functional. (X-Rays perhaps ?)
(So if you want to run a business, you need to take into account logistic difficulties.)

Some nice beaches, some with good parking, some with poor, some with none !

Peaceful, quiet, low crime, low unemployment, good quality air and water.

Midge season is when you want to cover up when outside, or you get bitten to death practically.. (Not sure how long that lasts, I think just a few days at the worst time, could be longer, hard to tell as when its windy, it helpfully blows them away for the most part !)  Possibly worse in some parts than others, not researched that much yet ! (Perhaps folk can comment if there are good spots and bad spots for midges..)

Fish is surprisingly difficult to find cheap. (Again, if someone knows where fish cheaper than Tesco can be found, would be appreciated !)  Which when you consider we catch what, 25% of the UK total, you'd think we'd be swimming in the stuff. :-)

But then, we also pump all that oil out of the ground around here too, but petrol and diesel are not cheap..
(And no piped gas, only bottles !)

Home heating costs can be expensive, in part because so many properties sit exposed to the elements with little to shield them from the winds.

Roads are good. (No real cycle paths to speak of.)

Though many roads are quite bendy, as such, care should be taken going around them !

Surprising number of local shops dotted around, often stuffed with just about everything you could want. (Things that are difficult to get delivered by post for example, like florescent tube lights.)

Sometimes the day is very short and dark a lot, other times, very long and daylight practically all the time ! (Not so useful if you want to test your new headlights and you got to wait like 6 months before its dark again..)

Changable weather, so long distance travel can be difficult. (Eg. ferry stops service.)

Can be hard to book ferry slot during busy periods when you want. (As such, you end up going earlier, or later than you had wanted to.)

This can make night life difficult if not on the big island (Lerwickland.) as you have to leave to catch the last ferry before the night is finished !
(I miss the cinema..)

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