Knitting in the Shetland Isles
Even those who think they know all there is to know about the art of knitting can pick up a thing or two in the scenic Shetland Isles, and we’re not just talking about those pesky dropped stitches...
As anyone who’s been lucky enough to visit the Shetland Isles can surely attest, it can get a bit chilly. It should come as no surprise, then, that one of their most famous exports is as warming as the welcome we receive on landing there.
There are workshops aplenty, both starting off our mornings and rounding off our afternoons. These present the perfect opportunity to hone our skills — and perhaps even learn some new ones — under the watchful eye of experienced artisans who make a living selling their wares. But knitting knowledge isn’t the only thing available for us to take home — a visit to the elegant Nielanell Design Studio is the perfect opportunity to pick up a stylish souvenir (whether you gift it or keep it for yourself is up to you, although we recommend the latter).
Departing from our pick-up points, we arrive in Aberdeen and board the NorthLink Ferry for our overnight crossing to Shetland. Tonight dinner is served onboard, and once we have finished getting to know the group we are lulled to sleep in private en suite cabins by the motions of the North Sea.
In the morning we disembark at Lerwick, quaint capital of the Shetland Isles. From here we travel to the award-winning Textile Gallery of the Shetland Museum and Archives for a guided tour to learn all about the knitwear that once supported the island’s economy. Our next stop is the Shetland Textile Museum, where we find an inspiring collection of local pieces located within a restored 18th-century fishing station, or “böd”. After lunch we enjoy a thrilling interactive workshop to learn the basics of Shetland hand knitting with a local tutor, before retiring for dinner and drinks at our hotel.
Our third day begins with a tour from a local weaver at the Hoswick Woollen Mill, a working factory established in 2004. Here we learn about the history of weaving, viewing looms and textile machinery as we go. We continue to the Nielanell Design Studio at Sandwick, where we discover an inventive range of alternative knitwear, including hand-spun batts just waiting to be used.
Later we see a different side of Shetland, entering the Prehistoric and Norse settlement of Jarlshof, with its ancient long houses and farmsteads, and the glorious Sumburgh Head, a windswept sanctuary, and migration route, for all manner of birds including Fulmar and Gannets.
The spectacular northern mainland of Shetland is ours to explore this morning, as we embark on a tour of sites including the distinguished family-owned factory, Jamieson’s of Shetland. We are privileged to receive a guided tour as part of our visit, during which we learn about the various stages of wool production, from grading to spinning. There will also be a chance to purchase some 100% Shetland yarn for your own projects.
We pause for lunch before rounding off the day with our second hands-on workshop of the trip: a great opportunity to pose any burning questions, and hone the local techniques.
A leisurely breakfast sets us up nicely for the last full day of the trip, as we spend the rest of our morning engaged in a final knitting workshop with a local tutor. Following a delicious lunch, our afternoon is free for us to wander the town of Lerwick at leisure – our last chance to pick up some Shetland yarn and souvenirs, or perhaps simply take in the sights of the town.
This evening we board our return ferry to Aberdeen, toasting to the trip’s success with a slap-up meal in the ship’s own restaurant.
Welcome back to mainland Scotland. We dock at Aberdeen this morning, and return to our original pick-up points.
- Five dinners (with wine); two nights on board the Northlink Ferry (private cabin), three nights’ bed and breakfast accommodation at the Busta House Hotel, Shetland.
- Four lunches
- Return overnight ferry crossing from Aberdeen to Lerwick with NorthLink Ferries, private cabin included
- Comfortable coaching throughout
- Visits to the Shetland Museum and Archives, the Shetland Textile Museum, Hoswick Woollen Mill, Nielanell Design Studio, Jarlshof, Sumburgh Head and Jamieson’s of Shetland
- Three knitting workshops with an expert local tutor
- Services of a specialist guide as Brightwater Holidays tour manager
Supplements per person
- Single supplement: £295
Rail/air travel and overnight accommodation in London before or after the tour available on request
2018 Insurance Prices
As part of our booking conditions, our travellers must have adequate insurance protection for any holidays overseas but we strongly recommend that you are covered for any of our tours. Our travellers are welcome to take out their own insurance policy, providing that we have the details of this before departure. Alternatively, we can provide our own recommended single-trip travel insurance for all holidays, please see the most upto date prices below:
Under 65, from £18.00 | 65-74, from £35.00 | 75 and over, from £52.00
Under 65, from £32.00 | 65-74, from £64.00 | 75 and over, from £96.00
Prices on application
23/09/2018 from £1395pp