The Shetland Isles View larger

The Shetland Isles


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Shetland is a lively and fascinating place with a distinctive culture. Liv Schei explores the history, folklore and landscape of the islands of Shetland. Illustrated by Gunnie Moberg's photography, the book also focuses on many of the characters who have peopled the islands, and shows how past and present influences have combined to make Shetland what it is today.

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Shetland's landscape is dominated by water. The steep, irregular coastline is deeply indented with fjord-like voes, the interior is dotted with myriad lochs, and almost everywhere you go the sea is visible. In this archipelago, boats have always been an essential part of life, enabling islanders to make a living from fishing and to trade with other countries, as well as bringing visitors - and invaders - from other countries.

The land itself is relatively low lying, the highest point being the 450m Ronas Hill. In the summer months, the sun barely dips below the horizon, and at midsummer there is the famous 'simmer dim'. Landscape, water and the ever-changing light combine to form a magical, sometimes almost other-worldly feeling, which leaves a deep impression on those who live in or visit the islands.

The history of Shetland stretches back some 5000 years, and traces of the past are found throughout the islands. The Shetland Isles explores each inhabited island and mainland parish, focusing on the folklore and literature, and retelling the stories of many of the characters who have lived here over the centuries, which have been passed on from one generation to the next.


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