• Fair Isle Knitting Patterns

    Fair Isle is a traditional knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colours. Traditional Fair Isle patterns are limited to five or so colours, using only two colours per row, are worked in the round, and limit the length of a run of any particular colour.... Read More

  • Papa Stour Sword Dance

    Papa Stour, Shetland, is famous for the Papa Stour Sword Dance, which portrays the seven saints of Christendom, the finale of which is a shield of interlocking swords. This dance was popular in the Middle Ages, known throughout Europe in different forms and described in Brugge The latest performance of the dance on the island was on the occasion of the official opening of the Stofa by the County Mayor of Hordaland, Norway, in August 2008. ... Read More

  • Shetland dialect

    The Shetland dialect is essentially a branch of Scots, because the islands have now been part of Scotland for over five hundred years. But, because of the previous five hundred years or so, when Shetland was Scandinavian, the old ‘Norn’ tongue, which had died out by about 1800, is obvious still in place names, vocabulary, expressions and pronunciation. And of course, English is part of the mix too. Features of the dialect: Some Shetland vowel sounds are common in Scandinavia, the most obvious bei... Read More

  • Shetland Knitting

    The Shetland Island council has for years (decades) promoted and taught traditional knitting of the Fair Isle to the primary school(24) pupils of Shetland. This activity has recently become fragile due to the Shetland Island Council deciding to cut the the budget that allows for 14 knitting teacher to pass on the traditional skills and patterns. Knitting has been a main part of the arts and crafts economy of Shetland dating back to the introduction of sheep on the island in the 9th century by Norse settlers... Read More

  • The Shetland Yoal

    The Yoal, often referred to as the Ness Yoal, is a small sailing craft (clinker built) used traditionally in the Shetland Islands. It is designed primarily for rowing, but which also handles well under her traditional square sail when running before the wind or on a broad reach. Until about 1860 yoals were imported from Norway, from Hordaland, the area around Bergen, in kit form, and local boat builders followed to Shetland to put them together, but increasing customs duty meant that local builders took ... Read More

  • Up Helly Aa

    The enduring influence of the Vikings, who arrived in Shetland just over 1000 years ago, is celebrated on the last Tuesday of January every year by fire festivals across Shetland. The events are annual and now take place in mid-Winter, having in some cases evolved from end of year festivities. The centrepiece of these events is a torch-lit procession, culminating in the torching of a replica Viking longship. Lerwick ‘Up Helly Aa’: this is the largest fire festival in Europe. However, this is not the onl... Read More

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