n336218321475_5727.jpgThis page is made as part of the Shetland Hamefarin . We are two lasses that grew up on Fetlar and would like to show you25350_385192077745_699157745_4462504_749524_n.jpg some of the things that were part of our childhood. We hope you enjoy them. We would like to welcome all the Hamefarers that are visiting Shetland and reddin up kin. Our name is Coutts,but the other side of our family tree is Brown.We know that we have relations all over the world. If you can't make it back to Fetlar maybe you will enjoy this virtual tour.

A Folly at Brough Lodge
tower3.jpgLeave the ferry at Hamarsness and drive down the single track road towards the big house on the horizon.
Brough Lodge in Fetlar, and its surrounding buildings, were once the home of the Nicolson family. It is now in disrepair but there is a trust to restore it. . Behind the main house is a folly, the Tower. It was used in the 19th century as an astronomical observatory, and the large lens from the telescope is now on display at Fetlar Interpretive Centre . The Tower was refurbished at the turn of the 20th century when the upper part had wood-lined walls. It also had a wooden bridge to allow access to the upper part. We made up ghost stories about it.
What do you like to observe and watch?
What have you done in your life that could be classed as a folly?
Where does your family come from?
Where is your favorite place?
If you could restore something what would it be?
One of our favourite places as bairns was the beach below Brough Lodge

The Flit boat
Drive past Brough Lodge to the old Brough pier and the last resting place of the Fetlar Flit boat. When we were bairns it was in reasonable condition and it looked massive.f-80_big.jpg Up until the 1970s the flit boat was rowed off to meet the Earl of Zetland the steamer from Lerwick. Granny says it was a great day when the Earl came from Lerwick with all the goods. Our great Aunt swam out from Houbie beach to the Earl and back as a bairn. Many of the men in our family rowed the boat at different times.

This is our favorite picture of the flit boat with someone's car balanced on two planks . As you can see everything came by the flit boat.

What do you have to balance?
What would be your precious cargo?
Who would you have in your boat to help you row?
Have you ever done something no one else in your family has done?
What has been a big day in your life?

Lambhoga - Peat flitting
ponies_smaa.jpgDrive back past Brough and head further in to the island of Fetlar. Your first sight of the whole isle will be above Velzie and you will see the big headland of Lambhoga. We have both moved on and left home for school, University and college. The first experience of leaving home for our granny was to go to the peat hooses in Lambhoga for the summer.

Until the 1950s, peat was the main form of fuel on the island and since most people lived a fair distance from where it was cut, it all had to be transported home on ponies and in some cases by boat. This whole process of transporting the peats was known as "flittin" and although it was extremely hard work, was the basis for some fond memories for granny. She went with her brothers, sisters and friends to stay in the peat hoose of Lambhoga for weeks in the summer. This was the first of her many adventures which took
her all the way to Australia before returning to Fetlar.471383814_9375d2598c.jpg

As bairns we were more interested in the loch of Tresta and the wonderful beach which is well worth a visit. Walk along the beach and up into Lambhoga but watch out for the " Bonxies" . These birds are the pirates of the sky and will dive bomb you. If anyone runs a bullying campaign in Shetland you should use the Bonxie as the symbol.


When did you leave home and what was it like?
Where have you gone to in the world and why?
Have you ever been bullied and what was it like?
Is there anyone in your life been like a pirate or bonxie ?
What animal or bird captures your personality

3687158750_b7a7fbc4a2.jpgHoubie - getting ready for winter

When we were at school on Fetlar there was 14 bairns now there is 1. We used to pass Houbie on the bus. We knew it was getting time for school to go back after the holidays when the silage bales were piled up for the winter and the fish was drying on the line at Houbie. Everyone preparing for winter. In the picture here you can see the fish hanging out to dry on the washing line.Before the days of deep freezes salted fish was an essential part of the Shetland diet. Neither of us like salt fish much. oooh but granny's pancakes are a different story.

What is an essential part of your diet?
How do you prepare for the future?
What food can you remember?
What makes you think of summer as a bairn?
Tell a story from your schooldays.
Who or what would you hang out to dry?

Leagarth House

Leagarth House, at Houbie is a typical 'turn of the century' big house. it was built by the surgeon Sir William Watson Cheyne.fetlar-450.jpgsw00.jpg

Sir William built this house on Fetlar to have it as a summer house, where he could have guests and parties, but after he retired in 1920, he stayed there permanently.
The house had it's own electricity supply, and Sir William had gardeners to make a beautiful garden. He made plans for extensive landscaped gardens. They included a sunken garden with alpine plants, vegetable gardens, several greenhouses and a hothouse. We had willows from Leagarth in the burn at our house.

In the 1920's, the garden was open to visitors every Sunday afternoon. The hall at Leagarth was venue to regular dances, where the whole population on Fetlar were invited.
Sir William also had a small laboratory in the house, where he sometimes performed surgery on local people.
After Sir William's death, his son Lister, gave over a part of the house to be used as a hall for the community. A lot of our relations had their wedding reception there.
Is anyone in your family famous?
What do you think the best invention is and why?
What would you cure if you could?
Cheyne was passionate about gardening . What's your passion?
Where do you go to celebrate?

Trows - Haltadans & Winyadepla
Up on the hill above Houbie are the sites of two famous trowie stories .

Trows are Shetland’s indigenous little people. The land dwelling fairies of the Northern Isles. They can cause havoc and mischief; turning a plough on a rock, setting the boat adrift or letting out the cattle. However it is said they will repay a good deed a hundred fold and those that helped a trow had good luck for many years.
The Haltadans a stone circle is hard to find but worth a look.Legend has it that the two centre stones were a fiddler and his wife who were playing music for a group of trows dancing in a circle when the sun came up and turned them all to stone. Trows love music and dancing and legend says that any human fiddler kidnapped by trows could play for a hundred years, although for him only a few days would have passed.
Jamsie Laurenson is a famous Fetlar story teller who lived at Aithbank. His house is now a camping bod, so why not go and stay there. We used to play on the beach below gathering shells and green serpentine.One of Jamsie's stories was about the trowie fiddler who first played the traditional fiddle tune Winyadepla.You can listen to him tell the story here .

origtrowie.gif Mam told us lots of trowie stories that come from Fetlar and other parts of Shetland.

What mischief have you done, when did you behave like a trow?
What good deed have you done recently and why?
What will be your tune that will capture your visit to Shetland?
What would you turn into stone?
Share a traditional story with someone, create a good atmosphere with music and candles.

Place names of Fetlar

Fetlar is full of wonderful place names: Gambligarth , Houlnastoora, Winyadepla , Banks o Funzie ,Sands o paradise and many more. Find out more about Shetland place names here

Find out about the meaning of your home's name and see if it suits?

Twitcher Watching
4103364189_105087aec0.jpgFetlar is an amazing place for birds and as we grew up our house was full of RSPB wardens and volunteers from all over the world. However there is a type of birdwatcher we enjoyed watching and that was the twitcher. The ones that wore a sort of uniform and came to Fetlar with a list of must sees.This was even more amusing when they were on a one day whirl wind tour to see a rare sighting. They would dash around the isle in hired cars , trailing cameras tripods and scopes.

The most famous feathered resident of Fetlar was breeding snowy owls in the 60s and 70s. Our dad was one of the men who sat in a hide keeping watch on the nest to stop egg collectors.A strange job! The last female disappeared in the 80's after being on her own for a long period of time. These silent killing machines are like ghosts as they fly across the hill close to the ground.

Now Fetlar's most famous bird is the red-necked phalarope.Over 90% of the Uk population of this bird live in Fetlar. They migrate in for the summer from May - August. We stayed above the hide at Funzie where you can sit and watch them and many other birds feeding. We would walk up to the loch o Funzie after tea and see these bonny birds feeding in the shallows. We often waded in along side them with our3651767816_6ac64038d1.jpg wellies when we were really peerie bairns. They got really tame. One night a twitcher gave granny a row for letting us disturb the birds as he was waiting to see the red necked phalarope. As he scanned the surface of the loch with his giant lens a peerie phalarope played at the waters edge next to Mairi. Don't know if he ever saw one. They seemed to know when the birdwatchers had left on the last ferry and they would come out to play. Mairi loved them because they were ginger.

How are you suited to your environment?
When have you ever been really on your own and what was it like?
When was the last really looked at the things right under your nose?What are you missing?
What is on your must see, must do list?
Do you have a hobby and what is it?
What is the strangest job you have had?
How do you spend your summers?

Safe journey
We wish you a safe journey home and hope you have enjoyed our tour of Fetlar. We are beginning our journey out in to the big wide world but we know we are two lasses brought up in the North Isles of Shetland. We have lived in Yell, Unst and Fetlar and our dad was the last person born on Uyea Isle so we can really say we are from the North Isle.

Where are you from and where are you going?

Travel weel.
Aa da best fae
Rhona & Mairi