About Shetland

The Shetland Islands are nearer to the Arctic Circle than they are to London.  Indeed, the distance between Lerwick, the capital of the islands, and London is approximately the same as that between London and Milan.  Norway is just over 220 miles east; London is 650 miles south.  Not surprisingly the culture and language of the Islands display strong Norse influences.

No point on the Islands is more than three miles from the sea and inevitably Shetlanders have been historically associated with the sea and fishing.  It is recorded that the Islands contributed 3000 men to the British cause at Trafalgar.  Even their smallest boats bear evidence of Nordic design features.

Agriculture has also been an essential component of the economy.  Wool has provided a natural resource for the knitting industry.

But for some the name Shetland will forever be associated with the Shetland pony.  The existence on the Islands of these small horses  –  adapted to the harsh conditions of the Islands and measuring in height between 26-46 inches  –  can be traced back to the Bronze Age.  For its size the Shetland pony is immensely strong and eventually became important to the coal mining industry in many parts of the world.  Used for hauling trucks from the coal face, some of these horses never saw the light of day.

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4 Comments

Filed under Colour, photography, Sea, Shore, Uncategorized

4 responses to “About Shetland

  1. Gigi Galore

    This is a lovely post – but very sad at the end 😦 The city of Perth, capital of Western Australia, is one of the most, maybe the most, isolated city in the world and closer to South Africa than any other Australian city. My research is entirely heresy so please don’t necessarily believe a word … 🙂 Incidentally, we were wondering whether to get a dog or a cat on our return to Australia but now a third option has come to mind … sweet little things … 🙂

    • I’m sure you would enjoy a Shetland pony. By size and temperament it is an ideal children’s pony. Why not take two and start up your own business in Australia?!

  2. I hope that the title of “work horse” is a thing of the past for these unfortunate creatures.

    • Fortunately their use in mines decreased rapidly with mechanization although they were still occasionally used in isolated pits until the 1970’s and similarly in tin mines. They are delightful animals.

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