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R Strong Eunson
I was wondering if anyone
on Fair Isle might have any information on Robert Strong Eunson and his wife
Mamie, married in 1855, who's rather tragic tale was told in short by Dale
Eunson, Grandson of Robert, in his story, "The Day They Gave Babies Away". Their
story was also the subject of a 1957 movie called "All Mine To Give". I would
love to have more information on their lives before they left Fair Isle.
Regarding the Eunsons
I have been trying to trace back the family tree of my father Jimmy Wood.
Although i can for sure go back as far as my Great Grand father Alexander Wood
Who married Alice Jane Eunson at Busta in 1905. As far as i can gather, her
family were Andrew Eunson (Father), Agnes Wilson (mother), Jerome (brother)
Jacobina (sister) and Alice F (adopted sister).
Alexander Wood was a lighthouse keeper who served on many light houses
throughout Scotland and the Isles.
Alexander and Alice as far as i can gather had 2 children, Andrew (my
grandfather) and John. I think they settled in Arbroath. My Grandfather Andrew
was also a lighthouse keeper and he married Jane Alice Mills from the Arbroath
area. I think Alexander Wood was a talented Violinist, I know the his son Andrew
Wood was. My own father Jimmy Wood was one of the top jazz saxophonist in
Edinburgh and Scotland. He dies on September 17th
2007 aged 71.
If anyone has any information on the
Eunson/Wilson family from Busta, i would be greatly appreciated.
it can be done through this page (click on link at the top).
me and I can put you in contact with the
If anyone has information they wish to share,
may possibly be of interest to anyone
who is researching the "Irvine"
or "Williamson" line.
writes . . .
I managed to dig up the following
information regarding Charlotte Irvine.
Charlotte was the wife of James Irvine
who lost his life at the time of the
Fair Isle Disaster 1897. Shortly after
the disaster Charlotte left Fair Isle.
On the 10th August 1890 James
Irvine married Charlotte Williamson.
James was aged 27 and Charlotte was aged
Charlotte was the daughter of William
Williamson and Anderina Stout of Myers,
James was the son of George Irvine and
Elizabeth Cheyne of Stoneybrake.
The 1891 census shows James and
Charlotte living with his widowed mother
Elizabeth at Stoneybrake;
Elizabeth Irvine, widow aged 70,
Knitter, born Shetland.
John Irvine, Son, aged 30,
Fisherman, born Fair Isle.
Mary J.Irvine, Daughter in Law,
Aged 30, Born Fair Isle.
Grand-daughter, Aged 5, Born Fair Isle.
James Irvine, Son, Aged 27,
Fisherman, Born Fair Isle.
Charlotte Irvine, Aged 25,
Daughter in Law, Born Fair Isle.
I have traced the births of
two children to James and Charlotte.
Charles born 1891 and Elizabeth born
James was missing presumed dead after
the Fair Isle disaster in September
1897. His family were unable to register
his death with the local registrar as
there was no body.
On the 24th November 1897, just over two
months after the disaster, Charlottes
son Charles died. He was 6 years of age.
Cause of death was given as "Water on
the Brain" of which he had suffered for
6 years. His Uncle, George Stout
registered the death. When writing in
the names of Charles parents on the
death certificate the registrar has
stated Father; James Irvine, Fisherman,
At some point after this,
Charlotte and her daughter Elizabeth,
along with Charlottes parents and
siblings moved to Edinburgh. I found
them there on the 1901 census.
15 Sloan Street
Wm.Williamson, Aged 59,
Painter, Born Fair Isle
Anderina Williamson, Wife,Aged 57,Born Fair Isle
Laurence Williamson, Son, Aged 33,Warehouseman,Born Fair Isle
Wm.Williamson, Son, Aged
22, Tram Conductor, Born Fair Isle
Helen Williamson, Daughter,
Aged 15, Scholar, Born Fair Isle
Daughter, Aged 30, Domestic Servant, Born Fair Isle
Daughter, Aged 17, Domestic Servant, Born Fair Isle
Charlotte Irvine, Daughter,
Aged 35, Born Fair Isle
Grand-daughter, Aged 9, Born Fair Isle
Four of Charlottes sisters
are missing from this census;
Robina who would have been
Jane who would have been 28
Elizabeth who would have
Anderina who would have
Jane Williamson stayed on
Fair Isle and married Jerome Stout. At the time of her death in 1943 she was
living at Melville House with her husband who was a retired Sub-Postmaster. She
was aged 70 years 8 months.
Charlotte Irvine died in
Edinburgh on the 14th May 1948.She was 82 years of age.Her death certificates
indicates that she was the widow of James Irvine and she does not appear to have
remarried. Cause of death is given as Senility and she died in her home at 16
Ryehill Terrace. Her daughter Elizabeth has registered and signed the death
certificate. She has signed herself as Elizabeth Irvine so I presume she never
When I entered the name
Williamson into the 1901 census for Fair Isle it only gives me one name. Ellen
Williamson who is aged 68, single and she lives at Stoneybrake with her nephew
George Stout and his family. Her occupation is Knitter. Although she is the aunt
of George Stout she is only two years older than him.
Did Charlotte convince her
parents and siblings to leave Fair Isle after she lost her husband and son, or
did her parents convince her? Were Charlottes brothers the last male Williamsons
to leave Fair Isle? Did Charlotte or any of her family return to Fair Isle to
visit her sister Jane Stout?
Possibly someone reading
this has the answers...............
"In reality not forgotten: Happy
Christmas from G-AVUH!"
Hope all is well on Fair Isle:
people, animals and birds (and Bird Obs),
ferry and cars, wind turbines, airstrip
lighthouse, and fire engine. And not
forgetting the weather, which I expect
is working itself up to its annual
We have been thinking about
Angela and Darren (at the "Enid Blyton" house as someone called it) and hoping
the peat store got finished and well stocked in time.
We have been watching the
"Coast" programme enthralled, especially in the light of our own trip, though it
would have been nice to see more of your island (though we did catch a quick
glimpse of Dave's yellow boots).
We are getting our very own
windfarm, at Consiholme - 20 of the biggest possible turbines 2 miles away: we
are not convinced! - but at least we managed to get the one next to our runway
We do look at the website
quite regularly to catch up with bits of news and history - and you are
definitely not forgotten.
Best wishes to all of you,
and to Hughie and Marshall when they come in.
Chris and John
I hope everybody had a fantastic 2007. Sorry I did not make it to the island
this year as this is the first time since 2001 that I did not spend the season
on your island and enjoy your hospitality.
For me, my year has been very different & difficult being back in the towns and
cities and having to contend with the heavy traffic, polluted air and the summer
floods. The scenery is not all that good down here and I have really been
missing the glorious sunsets, The Birdlife, Sheep round ups and off course all
of the island get togethers inlcuding the Fair Isle Thursdays, Dances and the
Football Matches down at South Light.
I would like to congratulate Jimmy & Florrie Stout on there Ruby Wedding
Anniversary and Stewart Thompson for making his 100th Spinning Wheel.
My highlight for this year was going to Southern Israel doing Bird Ringing And
Twitching back in March. I Stayed at a eco friendly kabbutz called Lotan
just 40 km north of Eilat. The weather was so hot and seeing over 10,000 birds
of prey flying north during a single day was incredible. Some of you may still
remember my dad, He went to India back in February for 3 weeks performing his
dangerous tricks (fire breathing, walking on glass etc) to schools and to
I Really hope to see you all again in the new year. I would love it for all you
to get in touch so we can catch up with each other.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Becki Rosser -
More Stout Lore
My Great Great Grandfather
Thomas Stout (d.o.b 6th May 1827) was
born at Teing, on Fair Isle and it
appears some of his many descendents
later called their house on Westray East
Teing . Does any Fair Islander know
where Teing was or who else left
from it? His son Thomas, my GGrandfather,
was born in Westray in 1959 but we don't
know when he left Fair Isle. (He had a
fair bit of Spanish in him as subsequent
descendents have discovered!)
the east of the School, on the other
side of the ('Middle') road, is the
area/field known as 'Taing'. Going
further east - between Taing and the
cliffs - is 'East Taing'.
Hello to everyone on Fair Isle from
Chris, John and G-AVUH!We are finally back home,
safe and sound.
After a mad dash round the
Orkneys - landing and photo (disgusting:
we NEVER do this sort of thing!) at all
the islands except North Ronaldsay
(which both Kirkwall and Sumburgh
insisted it was closed), we crept into
Lamb Holm for a soggy night under canvas
to be followed by a disgruntled flight
home in the miserable weather. However,
the seeds of discontent were sown at
Inverness when someone told us there was
a fly-in on Sollas beach, in brilliant
sunshine, so instead of skulking off home we headed west and found the first bit of
nice weather since our arrival on Fair
Isle. They have been having the summer
of a lifetime in the western isles.
A pic of John McLeod
follows by separate mail for those who
may know him. This colourful character
had brought all the gear down for the
fly-in on the ferry from Stornoway in a
rusty old van, and even fetched petrol
for those who needed it. The microlights
demonstrated where to land on the beach
- I was deeply suspicious since the
beaches around us open and swallow up
any aircraft who land on them.
We then went on to Mull,
which John had never seen, and he'd not
met David Howitt who runs the Glenforsa
strip, but they soon got stuck into
computers, jpegs and card readers!
Finally we flew out for pix of Fingal's
cave, then back via Oban to refuel and
meet another colourful aviation
institution, Paul Keegan. Carlisle was a
return to weather reality, with an entry
into cloud (and rain) a few miles
beforehand and let-down just north of
the field. Then ironically, we were
stranded there the next day in
glorious sunshine, because there were
gales and a mighty crosswind to the
runway back home.
Anyway one way or another
we've had a memorable trip, with our
stay on Fair Isle possible possible only
thanks to the thoroughly professional
and versatile team who took care of the
aeroplane! I think what struck me most
was the contrast between the idyll of
the first day, with all the (dare I say
it?) "merry peasants" bringing in the
hay like you used to see in the old
propaganda films, and the survival
tactics and weathering of the storm on
the next day. And that, I am willing to
believe, was only a beginner's storm!
The Cessna is on check now,
with quite a bit of work scheduled, so
we are grounded for a bit and busy
writing diaries and letters. All the
best and hope to see you all again one
Chris Belton, John Hardy
Dear Mr Wheeler,
Your name has been given to me as a
possible source of information about my
paternal grandmothers family who came
from the Fair Isle.
was an engineer on a steamship, based I
married a NICHOLSON
girl shortly after the turn of the
century. Unfortunately she died soon
John Garden then returned to the Fair
Isle and took his late wife's younger
sister, ELIZABETH LAURINA JANE
NICHOLSON, as his second wife. She bore
him three sons : John, James (my father)
and Kenneth in 1911, 1913, and 1915. All
three were born in Liverpool after the
steamship company relocated.
Following the deaths of all the family
of my father's generation I am at a loss
as to where to find any information at
all and wonder, in view of the small
number of inhabitants on the Fair Isle,
if you would be able to help.
Please accept my apologies for
approaching you in this unsolicited
Yours in desperation,
Alexander H. F.
Like a few others I am researching The
My great grand mother was Elizabeth
Stout b 1879. She
married my great grand father George
Rorie b 1879 in Kirkwall 1899.
Now one of you
readers Kathleen Spademan mentioned
I know in my tree there is a Barbara
Eunson b 1807 who was married
to John Stout
1801. Is there
Any info on the two families
would be appreciated.
Williamsons truly belong to Clan
Our family attended the Scottish
Highland Games in Oakbrook, Illinois
(suburban Chicago) this summer and spoke
with some lovely folks at the Clan
MacLeod booth. The name Williamson
is claimed by the clan but their maps
didn't go as far north as Fair Isle (!)
although they did claim Williamsons
from other islands in the vicinity.
Does anyone out there know if Fair Isle
Williamsons truly do belong to Clan
Thank you for your
Amy F. Williamson
John Wood Tribute
I was part of the Thistle Camp Volunteer Team back in
July 1999 ; when I was an undergrad with
the University of Aberdeen, studying
Scottish History (island communities
mostly). I had a wonderful time
during that work holiday and ever
since that trip, I find myself often
clicking on the website just to check
whats going on and how things are
This morning, I read some sad news about the death of
John Wood alias Fireman John. This
prompted me to compose a small note :
The first time I met John was on Shetland where all the
volunteers were grouping together to
await the Good Shepherd which would
carry us across the sea to
Fair Isle. John was
one of the eldest shall we say, and I
expected him to behave like an adult.
However, from the very first sight of
him, I remember he was the loudest clown
among us. By the time we had
boarded the Good Shepherd Johns
constant crack of jokes and shouts above
the wind and choppy seas began to take
its toll on me. I really thought
for a moment we wouldnt get on . Most
of the group were feeling quite
apprehensive and were all rather quiet,
since John was the only one chatting I
decided that if I stood next to him for
a chat, he wouldnt have to shout as
From that moment he and I got talking, I found him to
be immensely funny and extremely good
company. He had me in hysterics
for the best part of my Thistle Camp
trip. I was I think 29 years back
then, and having John around meant that
I did not feel so old. I had
expected most of the group to be around
18 years. Anyway, when we got to
the hut where we were staying, we were
left with ready made soup and home baked
bread to warm ourselves up with.
Left to our own devices where we would
hopefully bond, the room where we were
huddled together was rather silent.
John was (having been before) checking
into his favourite bed in the boys side
of the hut. Once unpacked, he was
back in the room and with his complete
chat of nothing and something he had
people talking to one another. He
was so much fun.
Each day, we were given our tasks to hand and split
into groups of three or two. My
first day, I ended up with John and I
spent the whole time laughing with him.
He was such a funny chap and always
cracking jokes, he didnt seem to care
what any one thought of him, and he
thought being serious was such a waist
of time. He never spoke about his
work and I gathered he was modest.
He talked of his wife Janet and the
walks they and he did alone in the
Every morning I hoped that I would be with John wood,
and I wasnt the only one thinking that.
In the evenings, John and I would think
of what to do. We called on
Florrie and Jimmy one night, and met a
chap who had been down to the wreck of
SS Politician where by he showed us a
bottle he had brought up to the surface.
I remember we all laughed in Florries
house that night. Another time,
John and I were on shopping duty, we had
to walk up to the shop and gather the
rations. We had nothing to carry
all our shopping in, so the lady in the
shop loaned us her wheelbarrow.
John with his scare-crow hat and
overalls, and me in the wheelbarrow with
a mountain of toilet roll manoeuvred
down the one track lane back to our hut.
The whole island could hear our laughter
as John wheeled me along. The next
day rumour had gone round that Carol
must have broken her ankle as she was
wheeled off in the barrow by John last
I could go on, and I should have written a diary of
that Thistle Camp Trip.
I hope Janet gets to read this extract as it may make
her laugh too. The whole
group thought John was just a bundle of
fun and didnt have a care in the world.
We all wanted to be in his team and I am
so glad he was on the camp the year I
I am now married and working as a freelance historical
researcher, I married in 2003 and we
often sail on the west coast. It
is my ambition one day for my husband
and I to sail to
Fair Isle where the ever
energetic Dave Wheeler runs in and out
every 15 minutes to check the weather
readings, where Florrie drives about in
the old Volvo and where there are so
many nice folk and views to be had.
Like every one who visits the island, we are all drawn
back some day ; when I think of
the Fair Isle
I not only think of the island and her
people but also the group in the hut,
especially John Wood.
Carol Hooper nee Boyd
Dear Dave, and everyone on Fair Isle
I'm sure you remember
I spent time there in spring 2005
gathering data for my MA research. I
wanted to tell you that I have finished
my studies in University of Helsinki,
and thank everyone on Fair Isle for
helping in the research.
The title of the
thesis in the end was based on a quote
from your interview Dave; 'Ulan Bator -
Doncaster, what's the difference!' -
Meaning Creation and Internet use in an
Island Community. Based on what
(little) I know of everyday life on Fair
Isle I tried in the thesis to describe
the dynamics of everyday life and to
show how the Internet use fits into it.
I wanted to explore the relationship
between local community and the ways
individuals use and conceptualize
(Internet) technology. In the thesis I
present that even though the Internet
makes it possible, or easier, to do many
things on the island, it has not changed
drastically the everyday life. Also, I
have to say I was surprised to learn how
common Internet use is on Fair Isle in
2005 when I gathered the household
survey 77% of households had Internet
access, compared to 48% average in
The definitions and
analysis I provide in the thesis are
only one possible ones, using different
theories the situation could have been
explained quite differently. Also in the
end I finished the thesis quite quickly
as I got a postgraduate research place
in Manchester Metropolitan University.
My plans for that research is to
continue field work in Shetland, to
analyze tourism and the Internet. I hope
this will provide me another opportunity
to spend time also on Fair Isle!
If anyone is
interested of my thesis, I'd be
delighted to provide a copy of it
(electronic or a printed copy), or
explain more details of it. My email is
Also, I hope to come and visit this
summer, so can tell more of that then.
Hope to see you all then!
Department of Information and
Communications Manchester Metropolitan
The world premier of Danish
"Another Kind of Stillness"
is to take place on September the 26th
in Roskilde, Denmark.
Another Kind of Stillness was composed
during some weeks in Fair Isle in summer
2006. It was commissioned by a member of
living in Torshavn, Faroe Islands. The
piece is composed for bassoon and piano
and will be
performed by Christina Andersen and
Berit Juul Rasmussen, piano. The work is
reflecting the all-embracing silence on
Fair Isle - a silence of another kind
than the composer's daily-life silence,
living in the Woods in Denmark.
Kind regards to all Fair Isle'rs from
Photo of Hans-Henrik Nordstroem,
Fair Isle, summer 2006, by Stine
Nova Scotia, Canada:
My wife just found your site on
Fair Isle and I am having a great time
going over it. In particular all the
stories about the Stout's. Our family
name is not very common here in Canada.
My father was Jimmy (James) Stout. (I
noted a Jimmy Stout in the story of the
aircraft and the lorry.) His father was
Peden Stout who was born in Barrhead
Scotland and came to Canada when he was
19. His father was William Stout who was
a cobbler and poet in Glasgow. His
father was Robert Stout who lived on
Fair Isle but as has been handed down
through the years, is said to have been
moved to Scotland by the Government. He
apparently was a big man with red hair.
I would be interested
in knowing if there is anyone on Fair
elsewhere) who might
have access to records to give us more
information about my great, great
grandfather and how he might be related
to the other Stouts I have been reading
about in your email letters and on the
web site. Working back from my
grandfathers birthday in 1882, Robert
Stout would have been born prior to
I have 3 brothers,
Peter, Robert and Andrew and my wife
Debbie and I have 3 children of our own
and one of our pets is a lovely Shetland
I was also interested
to note the weaving tradition of the
island as I am a manager of a plant here
in Nova Scotia that uses looms to make
woven plastic fabric.
My wife is a
professional photographer so we both
loved the pictures on the site tour.
Looks like a beautiful island. Sounds
like a retirement destination, a few
years down the road.
If anyone would like
to contact me it is
Cheers from New
I am writing to ask if you or anyone
on your island can help me with a
family photo with my father in it.
I had it printed in the Orcadian
news paper and got one reply and it
was from someone who had had a book
out of the library called Fair Isle
A Photographic History by George
Jean Jones. Now that I have the
book out own loan myself the photo
in question is 101 in the book and
my father is the one on the left
smoking a pipe and holding a big
mallet. It says that it is workmen
who built the huts at North Haven
(1917) I am interested to know if
you have any knowledge about this
photo. The two men at the front
look to be in charge
company they are working
for, or maybe some of the other men
might be forbearers of someone on
the island. I am a bit puzzled by
the photo as my father was born in
1903 and looks a lot older than 14
and I never new of my father being
in Fair Isle. But you never know,
as I am the oldest in my family now
I am trying to go over the family
photos for the younger generation
and out of interest for myself and
others who new him. I also noticed
at the front of the book in the
acknowledgements that this photo was
one of the ones that the origin is
this is not putting you to much
bother, but would appreciated any
information if any you might have.
After looking at the book I quite
fancy coming to Fair Isle for a
trip. I will attach the photo and
it is under my husbands e-mail
Jean Skinner (Rendall)
I have just finished trawling
through your site and am sitting
here quite misty eyed. A lot of
wonderful memories came flooding
back of our time at the south
lighthouse in 1973 to 76 .Give
our love to all
Iain & Norma Paisley.
I just thought I would send
you a short email to let you
know how much I enjoyed
photographs of Fair Isle.
Our public radio here in the
states did a story of the
people from New York that
moved there to run the B&B
so I wanted to learn more
about the island and people.
A great place to photograph
first, forgive me for my poor
are a Brasilian Company and, as
you can see at
www.tricoamaquina.com , we
work with knitting teaching;
many people, all over Brasil, is
just learning to knit with their
knitting machine with our books
our website we are trying to
explain the knitting love,
origin and history. Two weeks
ago we finished something about
Aran Islands, at Ireland.
we pretend to show something
about Fair Isle: the island,
it's features and it's knitting
history. Do you have something
about this history? Could you
help us, Mr. Dave? Of course we
will inform, at our site, the
correct "crdit" to your name
you know, Fair Isle is the known
name for a special knitting
technique; it would be very
interesting to show where, why
and how it begans, in Fair
would like to show some imagens,
too, and you have so many
fantastics pictures at your
site..... may be used?
Waitting for your help, I thank
you for any help you can give
info on this line of
my name is Helen, my great great
grandmother was Helen
who married Robert
in 1852 at Westray.
Their son Thomas
in bull rapness was my greatgrand
father, his fathers birthplace was
b/certificate of Thomas there was
one boy living at the time of his
would like to hear from anybody else
who would have any info on this line
( email email@example.com
Irvines and Mathers
My name is Robert Irvine and I live
in Ontario Canada.
I was born in Chatham New Brunswick
and began researching my ancestors
about 2 years ago, and found that my
family came from Fair Isle in 1862.
They were Irvines and Mathers. I
have linked up with a few distant
relatives via the internet and we
have shared the information that we
have. One common bit of information
that eludes us is, who were the
individuals that migrated from Fair
Isle in 1862? Do you know if there
is a list available or of anyone who
might have this information.
Anything on this would be greatly
Happy New Year everyone!
Well, I'm now half way through my
current stay in Kenya, so thought it was
about time sent you a special Postcard.
On my travels many local people are
intrigued by the many similarities
between my home on Fair Isle and those
areas and communities that I have been
visiting over here in Kenya. Many of the
issues and challenges that we face are
very similar due to our shared
geographical remoteness. - In fact, just
name an issue and you can have have an
immediate meeting of minds and
experience...It's fascinating and very
humbling and uplifting all at the same
When I have time and opportunity I'm
managing to update my 'Postcards from
Kenya' blogspot whilst I'm away, so if
you haven't found it yet, you can catch
up with me (& some photo's etc) there (http://www.cci-kenya.blogspot.com)
Hey, it's great to have news of our new
neighbours at Burkle and Auld Haa who
seem to be having fun experiencing their
own new life-adventure on Fair Isle,
Looking forward to coming home and
seeing everyone again soon...
See you all then,
'Linking Projects in Partnership' -
I am the
great granddaughter of Helen Irvine born
Aug. 2, 1825 in Fair Isle, Shetland and
Joseph Sinclair born in Dunrossness,
Shetland. They both immigrated to
Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada. Their
children were Jane, John, Ellen, Jessie
and Elizabeth (Libbie) I am the
granddaughter of Libbie. If there are
any relatives of the above that would
like to contact me, my email address is
I am searching for any relatives of John
Allison and Ann Stout, both born on Fair
Isle in 1802 and 1806 respectively and
married at Dunrossness in January 1827.
I am descended
from John Allison and would like to contact
anyone with similar antecedents.
Steve Chase [firstname.lastname@example.org]
the nights draw in, ones thoughts turn to the
thoroughly enjoyable visit made to Fair Isle in
June/July as part of the first NTS work camp.
The tasks we carried out were great fun and we
thank you for
your hospitality and for making us so welcome. I
hope the fence that Chiara and I repaired is now
standing up to the autumn gales, and that your
ram has started to regain his new winter coat!
I know that members of our work camp would like
to stay informed of issues on the island, and my
thoughts turned to the Fair Isle Times. Please
would it be possible to scan issues into, say, .pdf
format and distribute these by e-mail? I could
then forward copies to the other members of our
work party. Hopefully this could be much less
labour-intensive and green than postal
distribution as I believe takes place at
Id be interested to hear if this is feasible.
Further, if theres anything that you need to be
sourced down here in the
Midlands then Id be pleased to
Puffin Camp 1/2006
Yesterday, I have read the latest news on the
Fair Isle homepage. The story of the recent
wedding on the island reminded me of my own
My wife Iris and I, we married in 2005 on Fair
Isle. This was, of course, not an official
wedding, neither civil nor religious. You would
know this. But it was our own private wedding
ceremony. On the 20th of June 2005,
we went to Sheep Rock. At least as close as you
can get there on Vaasetter.
There we stayed during the whole morning, sat
there with the whole world in front of us, and
told each other all the things that one wants to
tell in such a situation. This was our emotional
wedding, although the official one was a few
weeks later, back home in Switzerland. In the
evening we returned to the FIBO, but nobody ever
knew, what was happening that day. (see
In order to announce this big event to the whole
world, we wrote a message, put it in a bottle
and let it go with the currents of the ocean
(please excuse the littering). We asked to let
us know, whenever somebody should find the
bottle. But so far (15 months later), we did not
receive an answer.
We wanted to keep the spirit of Fair Isle for
our real wedding later that year. So we
collected some natural souvenirs, such as sand,
little stones, feathers, dried flowers, sheep
wool, broken egg shells, a bottle of seawater.
This was part of our natural-outdoor wedding
Pic 2, the objects
on the table). That way, Fair Isle will be part
of our marriage forever and we will re-live that
day when we return to the isle the next time.
Thanks to all the islanders for their
hospitality and for your excellent work with
homepage. I always enjoy reading the latest
to contact Robert Irvine from Canada
I'm looking for the Robert Irvine from Canada that
e-mailed Lesley re: the Irvines & Leslies of Fair
Isle. Lesley sent me his e-mail address and
suggested I might like to contact him. I'd love to,
but the e-mail address I got was not correct.
Robert, if you read this please e-mail me at the
following address, I probably have info in the
Irvine's of Saint John, NB that might be useful to
05/03/2005 In answer to Kathleen Spademan's query re
parents were Andrew Stout & Elizabeth Eunson. Margaret
Eunson's parents were Alexander Eunson & Mary Brown.
I have more information on this family if Kathleen would
care to e-mail me.
I am researching "Stouts" of Fair Isle & Orkney if
anyone else has an interest.
(Thanks for that information Pete. I've
forwarded your e-mail to Kathleen.
Hi from USA (Thistle Camp 2003)
looks great (as usual) and brings back many happy
memories of our Thistle Camp in 2003. We remember the
kindness of all the people living on Fair Isle, the fun
we had at the Camp and the great evenings of music.
We are returning to Scotland for another
camp in June 2005. Will be at Ben Lawyers digging up
Keep that runway clear and best wishes to
Neil, Jimmy, Elizabeth, etc. and their families.
Bob and Christy Carton
Averill Park, New York
(Yes we moved from warm Maryland to cold
New York. Guess we were looking for more of that Fair
tell me who was George Stouts father or mother. This is
the George Stout that died in the 1897 disaster. Any
information about Margaret Eunson would be appreciated
also. My husband, Peter Spademan, is their Gt Gt Grandson.
We are one of the family members spread throughout the
world, living in New Zealand. We have some of our cousins
names, Moira, Esther, Jean and Evelyn, all of whom live in
The Irvines & Leslies of Fair Isle
I saw your letter on the Fair Isle web page and thought I might
have something to add. My great-great grandfather, Adam
Williamson, was born on Fair Isle about 1821. Sometime between
1841 and 1851 he married a Barbara Irvine -- however I show her
mother to be named Helen. Not sure if she's your Barbara or not
-- could there have been a second wife? By 1861, Adam and
Barbara had John (age 10), William (8), Margaret (6) and Oliver
(1). They immigrated to New Brunswick, Canada about 1863.
Oliver, the youngest, was my great-grandfather. He married
Edith Copeland in Canada but raised his large family in Chicago,
where I reside.
Hope this is of some help to you.
The Irvines & Leslies of Fair Isle
grandfather, Robert Irvine b. 18 March, 1856, and his family
emigrated from Fair Isle in 1862. They settled in New Brunswick, Canada.
Robert was married to a woman by the name of Jane b. 8 October, 1860
name unknown). My family believes he is the son of Robert Irvine Sr. who
was likely married to a Grace Chyne. Other children listed for Robert &
Grace are: John, Barbara, Jane & Jennie. If anyone recognizes these
please contact me.
p.s. I am saving for my trip already, Fair Isle looks so beautiful!
Malpas Tractors: warping machine
I am friend comes from china, I read the article on
/www.fairisle.org.uk/agriculture/baler/baler.html, I am very interested
your warping machine of silage bale, could your offer me some technical
specification about it?
(The Fair Isle web pages are certainly widely read!
Thanks for great memories
My wife and daughter and me visited Fair Isle in July 2004 on our
boat "Tranquillity", as we sailed from Norway to Shetland and the
Orkneys. We were lucky enough to be invited to the concert and party
band "Rock, Salt and Nails" and attend the dancing afterwards. I have
really understood the real reasons for melancholy behind Auld Lang Syne
the final of that party.
The Fair Isle visit, although it only lasted a bit more than two days
our favourite memory form this summer.
My thanks to everyone on Fair Isle for their kind hospitality. We will
Truls A. Berg
03/08/2004 Letters Page
My friend and I had the great privilege of visiting
the island in July 2004. I have to say that all the locals friendship
and kindness made the holiday very special for me.
I actually lived on the island for a few years but left 32 years ago
and this was my first visit back since then. (better late than never) My
father was lighthouse keeper at the North light. Everyone who remembered
me and my parents came and spoke to me, it was quite a homecoming.
The football match was an unexpected highlight as we were invited to
play, great fun.
We met members of the IVS camp and now keep in touch with some of them,
in particular Leona from Prague. They really seemed to enjoy the
experience on the island as much as we did.
The welcome at the Bird Observatory was first class, I shall return
again for sure.
Unfortunately I did not get the chance to visit you at the weather
station but hope to next time.
PS Great website!!!
03/08/2004 Fair Isle Chairs
I am forwarding this message and photographs from Stephen Jackson who is
Furniture Curator at the Museum Of Scotland. We have chosen to donate the
two "kitchen" chairs to the Museum. The photographs of the straw-backed
chair show quite a lot of detail. I should be pleased to arrange for further
photographs if that would be helpful
copyright National Museums of Scotland
Stephen writes "This example of the
fairly unusual in having been painted to imitate oak, a superior
any readers who are curious about the freezer reference: we have
found that careful freezing at -18 degrees C for about 72 hours
within a strong, sealed plastic bag is an
excellent means of killing woodworm, carpet beetle and similar
insect pests and so we freeze most in-coming organic objects as a
------ Forwarded Message
From: Stephen Jackson
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 2004 15:29:59 +0100
To: Andrew Tweedie
Subject: RE: Fair Isle Chairs
It would be great if you could discover more about the origins of the chairs
and their place in the family home. I attach pictures of the straw-backed
chair and two snaps of the donated chairs (just before they went into the
freezer). I'm quite confident that the knotting of the Fair Isle chair is of
the distinct Fair Isle type using knots derived from net-mending and cotton
string in place of the Orcadian sisal string.
Curator of Furniture
National Museums of Scotland
John and Barbara Wilson
My great great grandparents were John and Barbara Wilson. They lived
It is my understanding that John built the house there. I believe that
there are commemorative stain glass windows in the local chapel.
My grandparents were Jane Wilson and Tom Irvine, who came to Edinburgh
They brought with them some pieces of hand made furniture etc which I have
now inherited. I should like to trace the origins of these if I can.
Are you aware of any good sources of information about Taft itself [when it
was built etc] or about Fair Isle furniture and artefacts?
PS My mother is Mollie Macpherson, whose mother was Barbara Irvine. Barbara
was born on the Island in 1895, just before her parents emigrated to
2003 Work Camps
Just having a look at the website to catch up on the news and evoke happy
memories of the camp last August.
On the work camp part of the site there isn't anything for 2003 - we're we
all so bad that the island wants to forget about us?
Can't believe its a year since we were with you all having such a good time
taking away happy memories.
We are still in touch with Lucy who has been in N Zealand for almost a year
now - she's had a great time.
Mike and I both went back to our old jobs after our year out but I will be
leaving in 7 weeks to start a degree in nursing at Chester College - very
excited but also bit daunting!
Hope the dog is as mad as ever and that the bridge in the garden is still up
Look forward to hearing from you re my question.
had noticed that gap - but when I looked back I seem to have very few
photographs of the 2003 Camps! However I've now added a couple.
Who knows but someone reading this might send more!!
surfing the net today and came upon your website. On looking through
your super collection of photos, it brought back all the happy
memories I had when I was on the island building the North Haven
with Kier, of the scenery, the wonderful weather (at times) and
certainly not least the friendship shown to all of us who
invaded the peace and tranquillity of all the islanders. I hope that
the harbour has been a true benefit to the community.
always promised myself to return bringing my good lady, but she is a
bit skittish about boats and almost gets sea sick on the Mersey
Ferry. Nevertheless I still intend to make the trip some day.
given my regards to all who remember us as the madmen at the North
( ex. Kier Construction)
Rodger, you only have to look at the picture on the Home Page
and count the number of visiting yachts tied up alongside to see
what a difference the work has made!
I really enjoyed the Fair Isle Times special on George Waterston. What
about a more detailed potted history of G.W. for Fair Isle Times and the
website? What did he do work-wise etc.? Biographical details would be
Perhaps somewhere someone is already writing his
Missed Fair Isle visit & family history
We were a little disappointed when we planned a trip to Fair Isle this
year in June and were informed that accommodation was a problem. We
ended up going to the Hebrides.
Now that we are back I thought I would plan well ahead for next year to
Fair Isle. I have just looked at your web page and thought I might take
the liberty to contact you.
We are tracing my wife's family history which goes back to Fair Isle. I
wondered if you could let me know if Melville house still exists on the
My wife's Grandfather was William Anderson who married Jacobina Joan
Wilson on 20 June 1908.
William was the son of Thomas Anderson who married Helen Meiklejohn Cant
on 31 Dec 1877
Can you point us in the right direction to trace family from this
island? We know they lived in Melville House.
I hope you don't mind me e-mailing you on this subject.
Im also rather disappointed that you were told that accommodation
on the Isle was a problem. May and September can get rather busy
during the bird migration season when lots of twitchers descend
upon Fair Isle hoping to see a rare migrant the first for Britain
is always the hope but Im surprised that you couldnt find
anywhere to stay in June. However, Im sure that you enjoyed you
visit to the Hebrides and you do still have the anticipation of a
wonderful holiday to come on Fair Isle!
Missed your webcamera with picture of
current weather while you were on holiday. Welcome back and trust that
you had an enjoyable time walking the in North England.
See you in July.
All well here
It was a nice break but good to be back. 40 years since I was last
in the Yorkshire Dales. Many changes there - some for the better,
a few not so!
Regarding Hoffmans on Fair Isle
Marriage 18 OCT 1809 Canongate, Edinburgh,
Christiana Agnes christened 17 DEC 1810
Saint Mary, Woodbridge, Suffolk, England
Robert Milne born 14 MAY 1817, christened 03
JUN 1817 Airlie, Angus, Scotland
Isabell born 20 JUN 1819 Airlie, Angus,
John Dimotius Ruperty christened 19 OCT 1821
Canongate, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
Mary Jane christened 01 NOV 1824 Canongate,
Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
Hannah born 03 AUG 1831 Edinburgh Parish,
Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
If they were living on Fair Isle in
1820-1825 they went doon sooth for the christenings.
Hope this is of some assistance,
Subject: Re: Hoffmans on Fair Isle
Hello, I wonder if you can help me, I'm trying to trace any details of my
ancestors living on Fair Isle circa 1820-1825. The family were John Andrew
Hoffman married to Isabella Dickson, at least two of their children were
born there - Mary Jane and John Dimotius (strange name), they had five
previous children, but I'm unsure where they were born.
The family were later to link up with the Laing-Meason's of Orkney.
Any information or a point in the right direction would be of immense help.
Subject: Need website/information for group that played @ your school on
June 1, 2002
We were part of the Adventure Canada group that attended a dinner and
Ceilidh at your school on June 1, 2002. We greatly enjoyed the dinner as
well as the performance of a local Fair Island musical group. It was
mentioned that this talented group would be touring parts of North America
later this year. We are interested in the name of the group and where they
might be appearing. If they have a website, we would be interested in that
also. We very much enjoyed the hospitality of the friendly people of Fair
Island and bring back many wonderful memories of our visit. We would like to
thank and congratulate everyone who had a part in planning and executing
this wonderful evening for our group.
John E. and Dorothy A. Mitchell
While browsing the letters on the Fair Isle site I noticed a response to
a letter from Fiona Pearson, she mentioned having a copy of the census
from 1841 to 1851. I think that she may be able to help me. My great
grandfather James, and his parents Robert and Grace (Cheyney) emigrated
from Fair Isle about 1850 and settled in eastern Canada.
Would it be possible for you to forward this post to Fiona? or perhaps
you could just post it on your letter site and I can hope for a reply :)
Thanks for the great site, and for your assistance.
I was just
checking my post of yesterday to you and I think that a last
name might be helpful :) The surname of my great grandfather was
Irvine. This may be of some help :))
I have been searching for my roots for several years. My Uncle believed that
our family originated on Fair Isle. I would love to claim such a beautiful
point of origin, but I seriously doubt it. My question to you is this; Do
you know if there is a history of people with the surname of Fair who lived
there in the 1700's? My GGGGrandfather was named Amazi Lewis Fair and he was
born in America. His Mothers name was Sarah. I don't know her maiden name,
nor do I know Amazi's fathers name.
Is there anybody that you could lead me to in order to get some help with
this project? Thank you very much for you time. I would love to visit the
Isle. The pictures remind me of Flam Norway where we visited my cousin a
couple of years ago.
I'm sure you are right on this one Sarah - but it's
a nice idea!
Dear Dave and all Fair Islanders
This is just a quick thank-you note. I saw that you've got a link to my
article in the Independent on the site now, I hope everyone enjoys it. I
would have liked to have written more about the wonderful people and scenery
I saw during my stay but the Travel Editor wanted the piece done in that
format and was only really interested in the knitwear. Oh well... I'll keep
trying to sell the story to other publications.
In the meantime thanks to everyone I met on the island. You were all very
helpful and I enjoyed the visit tremendously. Kathy Coull is a brilliant
host and a marvellous person to introduce visitors to the island.
Thanks again, and one day I hope to be back without my notebook to enjoy a
Simon! Kathy can be contacted at
The Fair Isle site is looking great! Your photographs are particularly
wonderful, atmospheric, a unique quality about them. You really are in
touch with nature. Didn't realise Sheep Crag (did it not used to be called
'Crag'?) was so much taller than the Isle - did they really put sheep up
there by means of chains and ropes for the summer??
I especially like the accounts of the school children's trip to Orkney. It
was my first trip there this year, too. their trip was quite something - but
so was mine! I flew from a small airfield near us here in York in a six
seater plane with 3 great pals - for the day! Once in a lifetime experience.
We HAD contemplated flying to Fair Isle, but it was just that bit further
and in July fog might have threatened our landing so we opted for the island
of Sanday, 2 and a half hours flying. We hired bikes for the day! But I do
intend visiting the land of my ancestors, Fair Isle, someday. I'm hoping to
return to Orkney next summer. Do they do flights from Kirkwall to Fair Isle?
Now I'd like to reply to Amy Williamson's letter:
If you visit the site again, Amy, I wondered if you might like more info on
your ancestors from Fair Isle? I have the censuses from 1841 to 1861 and
your Adam Williamson & his family are listed. Adam was 20 in 1841. Then in
1851 he is married to Barbara (whose maiden name was Irvine as her mother,
Helen Irvine, is living with them BUT she is listed as 42 and Barbara is
listed as 32! Someone out!!)
In 1851 Adam and Barbara had John who was younger than 1.
In 1861 John is 10, William 8, Margaret 6, & (Oliver) 1 (in brackets for
some reason). They must have emigrated around 1863 if he was a 3 year old
when they left the Isle. And there is no mention of them in 1871.
Hope you managed to find penpals at the Fair Isle school. Those kids are a
grand bunch if you read their account of their sail to Orkney.
Will be back to answer a point in George Stout's e-mail, but have to go at
Fiona Pearson (nee Williamson) in York, UK
Dear Dave Wheeler,
I often recall my visit in summer where I lived for 3 weeks in Springfield
to write a new piece of music. And I still have the pleasure to be in
contact with Margo and Bill.
It might be of interest for you and the website that the work is completed
and published on Edition Samfundet. The title is "Fair Isle" with the
subtitle "Friarey" and it is composed for violincello solo, 12 woodwinds
and 4 french horns.
I enclose the title page and the programme-note also in english which is my
description of the work. I also enclose my biography for reference.
And my website is
"Fair Isle" is to be premiered May the 25th 2003 in Slagelse, Denmark by
John Ehde, cello and the Amadeus Ensemble and it will hopefully appear on
one of my portrait-CD's soon counting four.
With kind regards
Greetings too to everybody I met on your magnificant island!
Greetings from Chicago, Illinois
I'm not much of a genealogy buff, but I'd always heard the family story of
how my then 3 year old great grandfather Oliver, father Adam and the rest of
the Williamson family left Fair Isle when they could no longer make a living
as fishermen (after reading about the Fair Isle Disaster it makes more
sense.) The family wound up in Nova Scotia and eventually here in Chicago.
It was fascinating to stumble across your website tonight and learn a little
more about the island and its history. I've e-mailed the school to see
perhaps if I could find pen pals (or e-pals) for my children, Maeve Kathleen
(I'm 3/4 Irish) and Graham Andrew (he got named for my Scottish 1/4, much to
my father's delight) Zolkowski (their dad's 100% Polish.)
Thanks for the website -- hope I get to visit the island someday!
Something to add to Fiona's enquiries about
the Williamsons - though it may just muddy the pool even further.
According to my records these Wiiliamsons were never as far up the Isle as
Stoneybrake. For example, in 1951, Andrew Williamson and his wife Hellen
(who was one of the Pund Leslies) and their first daughter Barbara, were
living with his widowed mother Barbara Brown, together with his brother
William and his wife Robina and his sisters Agnes and Barbara. The name of
the croft was Lirty, which was somewhere about, if not, Mires.
By 1861, Andrew was head of the household and the croft, which I imagine was
the same place, was designated Mires. His mother was with them, together
with a family of Barbara (15),Agnes(10), Andrina(4), and Ann(1). His two
sisters had gone, as had his brother William and his wife Robina. I have a
note that William and Andrew had fallen foul of the tacksman at the Haa and
that William had been banished to Westray.
Unfortunately I have not followed up the fortunes of the family in Westray.
None of them were in Fair Isle in 1871 and, from what Fiona says, Andrew and
his wife Hellen and their family went to Westray sometime in the 1860's.
The next piece of information I have is the 1891 Census for Kirkwall, which
confirms that there was an Anne Williamson (20), born in Fair Isle, with
twin sons Charles and Peter (1). Now she might be Ann, the daughter of
Andrew, but she should have been 30 not 20! Unless the first Ann had died
and Andrew/Hellen had another Anne in Westray. - which is not too
There certainly seems to have been a Leslie connection in the Kirkwall
births. Both Peter and Charles were very uncommon Fair Isle names - the only
Charles I have on my records is a Charles Leslie at the Pund - and he was
So you see, this may not take Fiona much further. However, for better or
worse, like all Fair Isle descendents, she and I are related - both through
the Williamsons and the Browns.
Best wishes, George Stout
Dear Fair Islanders
Having spent the best part of a day plundering your web-site for information
to help me in my work, I now feel thoroughly "homesick"! I continue to use
Fair Isle as a case study in my teaching of environmental science and
sustainable development, even though I am now working and living in the US.
It will do no harm to introduce a few of my new students and colleagues to a
different lifestyle and culture! In my quest to continually improve and
update my teaching materials, I would be very grateful if anyone on the isle
(or others away from the isle but with affiliations) would share recent
developments, initiatives and events in connection with everyday life with
me. I can be contacted via e-mail at
Equally, if you just want to drop me a line for a blether, then please do!
I really do miss Fair Isle, which may seem silly, given my sporadic visits
over the past few years. You have a lot to be very proud of and I'm willing
to sing your praises whenever I can!
(this is from another Fiona, Fiona Chrystall - a long-time friend of
I'm really pleased to get your reply & I would love to hear any little
snippets of info regarding Stonybrek that Pat might be able to give me. Did
she ever know of any Williamsons living there? Andrew Williamson's parents
lived at Shriva and I have connections with Leogh, Pund and Leogh further
back in the line.
Yes, by all means put do put my message on the Fair Isle website letters
page (don't think I saw that - will have to go back). I also have a query
about the Poorhouse in Lerwick that some of your readers or the local
historians on Fair Isle may be able to help me with. My great grandmother
was listed in Kirkwall in 1891 with twin boys, Peter and Charles Williamson,
then I 'lose' them. A transciber found a Charles Williamson who died at
Lerwick Poorhouse of Dyptheria, aged 2, illegitimate son of farm servant,
Ann Williamson - which all fits - BUT, why would he have ended up in
Shetland? Might she have left him on Fair Isle with relatives, or both the
Her first 2 children (my grandfather included) were brought up by their
grannie, Ann's mother Hellen Williamson, so it seems feasible she might have
'farmed' these others off to younger relatives, perhaps? Hellen would be in
her early 70s in 1891. Ann married a John McLeod in Govan, Glasgow in 1893,
returning to Orkney sometime in the next few years, but I haven't managed to
get into the 1901 census.
Oh, I do ramble on! But I am very intrigued by what might have happened to
these two boys, the twins.
Looking forward to any reply from Pat - what the croft is like today, the
situation, the views, how it might have been in the 1841......
Bye for now.
Can anyone help Fiona?
I've just visited your very interesting Fair Isle website. My Williamson
ancestors were from Fair Isle &
just before they left to settle in Westray,
Orkney, they lived at Stonybrek,
which I presume was a croft. I have copies
of the Fair Isle censuses from
1841 to 1881 by kindness of Bruce Benson in
Shetland of the Shetland Family
I have a copy of the old Fair
Isle map obtained from Hollie (?) at the Bird
Observatory & found Upper & Lower
Stonybrek on this map.
I notice that on your website
there is an article, "Human Population of Fair
Isle..." written by Stonybrek
Pat. I was wondering if you could tell me if
this Pat lives at that address &
whither it was the same croft - lying west
of the community Hall & school?
If he/she does live at this same address as
my ancestors, Andrew & Hellen
(nee Leslie) Williamson, would it be possible
for me to contact this Pat over
the 'net do you think? Could you ask
permission for you to give me
their e-mail address at all? I would love to
hear what it is like & how it
would have changed from the mid 1800's.
About a year ago I contacted Anne
Sinclair. I'm very interested in the
history of that time on Fair
Isle. You're site was well worth visiting - I'm
going to read it all thru'.
Bye for now,
Fiona in York, UK
I have given Pat a copy of your e-mail
- hopefully she will find time to reply.
Pat is married to Neil Thomson - brother of Anne Sinclair - and they do
indeed live in the croft you speak of.
What a splendid website. I came to Fair Isle in 1997
and the community feel really was a breath of fresh
air, and the lifestyle awe inspiring.
Thank you ...
Seeing the news pieces and images brings it all back.
My visit to the island changed my life, and changed my
priorities, as I expect it does with many other people
who visit. I hope that you are all well.
... we also love it!
I tried to place my letter on the web page but I couldn't send it from there
so hence the email.
I only logged on to the Fair isle web site because I was working on this
Uluru project and was having strong Fair Isle vibes from the image. I must
say that your site is one of the easiest web pages to get around I've come
across in a long time and conveys the vibrancy of the Fair Isle culture.
Coincidentally, I met Peter Maxwell-Davies last year in Adelaide. He was
involved in the Barossa music festival here in South Australia and he
performed some of his choral pieces at the festival with a composer friend
of mine, Graham Dudley. Small world huh.
What became of the Fair Isle map? Does it still hang in the post office? Are
Annie and Stewart still with us? I have too many questions about the Isle;
but they may get answered over time. The photo of the choir in 1972 has many
memories for me as I sang with them for short while. Handle's Messiah.
Another letter from an IVS volunteer . . .
I'm responding to Alan Howe's letter as I was also an IVS volunteer on that
same camp. I have very vivid memories of working on Brians house at Field
from the wall frames to the roof, including laying roofing shingles and
hurling cement render onto the outside walls. We also collected the sand and
stones from a beach, hauling the sacks of raw material up a steep cliff, to
take back to the site to transform into cement blocks that became the
exterior walls. The skills I learnt from that summer became a life long
interest in the building trade as well as being self sufficient in more ways
I've always seen Fair Isle as not only a icon of
individuality and self sufficiency but also a metaphor for it. Some recent
art work I have been doing was influenced by a recent visit to the centre of
Australia at Ayers Rock, now known as Uluru; an island of rock that floats
on an ocean of sand and is a mecca for many people. This rock has many
stories that defines it's place in indigenous Australia but also speaks to
us white fellas on a spiritual level if you can get beyond the tourist gaze.
Working on this project has reminded me of my time on Fair isle and I
sometimes think of the Isle as the Rock, as the image oscillates between the
Isle and the Rock. I am a native of neither and so maybe just an observer
but I certainly feel an affinity for them both. I too would be interested in
hearing some stories from others on those camps.
Thanks to Dave Wheeler for maintaining this site and
keeping us all up to date with The Isle. Good to see that Neil is still
playing the guitar - another source of inspiration.
Are we right in also remembering you from way back in 1972 when we first
came to Fair Isle? I believe you stayed in Stewarts hut at Shirva.
Didn't you and Neil make a model of Fair Isle?
I was an IVS volunteer on the island in 1971 . . . .
Just happened by chance on the Fair Isle web pages in an idle moment and
came upon the workcamp section.
I was an IVS volunteer on the island in 1971. I was part
of a group that helped to build a croft - can't remember the full name of
the islander whose house it was - his christian name
was Brian I think...If it would be of any interest to you
and others I think I have a few old photographs. I wonder if there is
anyone else from that year who remembers more than I
can. I met two lovely Swedish students on the
workcamp, one of whom, Lena, I am still in touch with after 30 years; others
included 2 English students from
the West Midlands, and American couple....There
must have been more but that's all I can recall. I
remember playing a football match against islanders on a rough and
ready pitch down near the lighthouse near where we stayed. And a ceilidh
I'd be interested if anyone else can add to these now rather hazy memories.
I do remember that the island made a very distinct impression on me. One day I
plan to return!
Thank you for a very interesting e-mail!
Brian (Wilson) is still here and still building houses!
I'm not sure of which house you were working on - it could just
have been ours (Field - the one nearest to Sheep Rock)
as when we moved in in 1972 it had just been renovated by Brian!
Football matches are still played on the same ground - Fair Isle
versus 'the rest of the world'. You would however, not recognise Puffin
these days as it has been improved rather on what it was 30+ years ago!.
While in many respects you would find great changes you would still
find the 'old' welcoming Fair Isle!
Yes, it was Field. Hope the chimney still works as I built it!!
Where's the difference?
THREE quotes from last week's report
in The Shetland Times headed "Fair Isle dismay over order":
1. "SSMO spokesman said that Heather Kay had been granted a licence because of skipper Costie's long-standing track record in the area."
Surely a reason for not granting a licence. Skipper Costie and his like have plundered Fair Isle's waters for too many years without adding one iota to the island's economy or the community's wellbeing.
2. "The (SSMO) spokesman said he believed (the Wick fishing boat) was only in the area for a couple of
Would he be as complacent if, unrestrained, I desecrated his larder and vegetable garden "for only a couple of days"?
3. SMMO spokesman: "There is now a mechanism in place to regulate around Fair Isle, which wasn't the case before."
But where's the difference?
Local Shellfish Regulating Order
To say that we feel let down by the new local shellfish regulating order would be an understatement.
Already this season we have had "creel-men" from mainland Scotland and Orkney,
around our isle, each with a catching power in one week which would equate to more than our island's effort for a whole season: all this at a time when lobster and crab stocks are so low that this fishing is barely viable.
Of course these visiting fishermen have been coming for years, but with the fisheries coming under "local" control we expected some improvement in the protection around our shore.
Surely the fundamental reason for the control of fisheries to be passed from central government to a local authority is so that they will not be fished to extinction, but instead sustain our local stocks into the future. That is certainly not what is happening around Fair Isle at this time.
Kenaby, Fair Isle.
Hi, I've just had the time of my life Just Browsing the Fair Isle Web site. I
also am a descendant of George Stout One of the Victims in the 1897 tragedy. The
story was of great interest to us.
We live in Marathon Ontario Canada. It is situated on Lake Superior Between
Sault Ste Marie and Thunder Bay.
Thanks and keep up the good work.
Sincerely Jean Cook
HI Again!! Today I was 'browsing and looked at the Fair Isle site again and
with astonishment and excitement I read the story of the Fair Isle Disaster of
1897. Margaret Stout is my mother, Jessie's paternal grandmother. She left for
Aberdeen with 6 children - Mary, Lizzie, Alex and Andrew (Jessie's father, all
who remained in Aberdeen (Andrew was the father of 13 children); Thomas and
Willie, both who moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Thanks for the great site. I grew up hearing so much about Fair Isle. I can't
believe it when I mention it to people and they don't know what I'm talking
Sincerely, Esther & Terry Chamberlain
Dear Mr. Wheeler:
My sister e-mailed me a copy of your website, and I just finished reading the
account of the 1897 Fair Isle fishing disaster. I believe the George and
Margaret Stout mentioned are my great-grandparents. My grandfather was Andrew
Stout of Aberdeen, originally from Fair Isle, and my mother said he lost his
father in a fishing accident when he was young. Andrew went on to have 13
children, and now his descendants are literally spread all over the world! It
was very interesting to read this account that has such personal meaning.
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada
My name is Moira Stout and I just wanted to write and tell you that I enjoyed
reading about the Fair Isle. My Grandfather was born there and lost his father
in the 1897 disaster. They left the Island shortly after and ended up in
Aberdeen....We live in Canada now but I have alway been interested in the Fair
Isle.. I haven't been able to find much info on it so I was happy when my cousin
sent me this.. It is something I will be saving and I will be looking for
updates..I'm also sure I must have some relations there.:o))