View Full Version : Out Skerries?

Katharine Tree
09-17-2015, 07:43 PM
My WIP involves two characters who spent a year on Scotland's Out Skerries. It isn't a large, involved part of the story, but I'd like the details I do include to be authentic.

Has anyone been to them? Any observations about everyday life, infrastructure, nature of the permanent residents? The smell of the wind? The sounds of the sea?

Observations about other remote North Sea islands would be fine, too. I'll take what I can get.

09-18-2015, 05:13 AM
I once visited as part of a trip to Lerwick. Fewer than 100 people live there. It's only one square mile. Out Skerries give a new meaning to the words 'remote' and 'bleak' especially in winter, when the islands can be cut off and inaccessible for days at a time. The mainstays of the economy are fishing (still in decline) and fish farming (mainly salmon). What small area of land there is to be cultivated and grazed is used to the full. There's also a small trade in traditional knitting. There are two shops andachurch. I'm not sure whether the secondary school is still open. At one time it had only three pupils, like the primary school. Most goods are imported via the regular ferries. There is no pub! My lasting impression was that it was incredibly windy, even when the sun shone. Like most Shetland Islanders, the people are welcoming and courteous, but reserved, almost taciturn. As can be expected with such small communities, everyone knows everyone else and their business and nothing goes unnoticed.

Katharine Tree
09-18-2015, 05:48 AM
Thank you so much, Calder. Much as I'd imagined. Especially good to know about shops--2, church--yes, pub--no.