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25 Things Only Shetlanders Know

Shetland is marooned in the middle of nowhere off the top of Scotland, with the isles considerably closer to Bergen than Edinburgh, so naturally, it's a bit of a mystery to some. But yes, we do have the internet and no, there aren't any polar bears. I think. But despite the remoteness, there's lots to offer...

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1. Amid the 23,000 people, there's some hairy Vikings

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They come out to play across the isles in January, February and March for Up Helly Aa to celebrate Shetland's Norse heritage and man's innate love of setting fire to things.


9. Growing up in Shetland meant beaches, sledging for miles, safety, building dams, sitting in front of the fire, grubby hands, and above all, a clean soul

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Defying that well-known saying, the grass is actually just as green on this side as it is on the other side. Where do I complain?


13. The bouncy twelve-hour boat journey to and from Aberdeen usually results in this

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But it's okay, you'll meet someone you know in the bar and drink away your travel sickness blues. Then throw up again.

14. ...and the plane trip back south might start off like this

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Our pilots aren't drunkards, promise. It's just wind. Just wind...

15. If the boat is cancelled a few times in bad weather, the supermarket shelves get wiped out in fear of starvation


Panic buying: A time when human life on the isles suddenly can't survive without ten loaves of bread a week.