Another Book for Skiffies: “The Shetland Boat”


“The Shetland Boat: South Mainland and Fair Isle” was originally published in 1984 by the National Maritime Museum.  This book will be of great interest to students of the skiff, as it really describes the whole heritage behind shetland derived boats.

It was reprinted this year by Shetland Heritage Publications, in association with the National Maritime Museum to mark the occasion of the first Shetland Boat Week in August 2016.  It can be purchased from the Shetland Heritage Shop.   Unfortunately I have misplaced my own copy somewhere in the house, so my ability to review and print extracts is somewhat limited.  It is absolutely jam packed with information about the building and using of double ended yoles and skiffs, and the small differences which distinguish the different types.  There is an explanation of the various seating layouts for rowing (one layout you will not see is four rowers, with one oar each, sitting behind each other in a row…….  as per the St Ayles).  Those with a single oar tend to be sitting double banked (two to a thwart).  There are a couple (contradictory) of accounts of rowing style, and there is also plenty of information on oars, including I recall some folk leaving them in the sun the same way up, so that the blades would warp into a scoop….  although I am not convinced by the weight that should be given to that story!


2017 Shetland Boat week  took place from 7 to 13 August 2017, and the next event will be well worth a visit, as is a trip to Unst Boat Haven, where more information about our type of craft can be gleaned.

Shetland Boat Week

Shetland Museum

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