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Shetland with Laurie Podcast

Shetland with Laurie Podcast

By Laurie Goodlad

Shetland with Laurie is hosted by writer and tour guide, Laurie Goodlad and delves into all aspects of life in Shetland; the place, the people and the landscape.

You can find out more about Shetland with Laurie by following on Instagram @shetlandwithlaurie
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Shetland's haunted places - a Halloween special

Shetland with Laurie PodcastOct 31, 2023

Shetland's haunted places - a Halloween special

Shetland's haunted places - a Halloween special

Hallowe’en is almost upon us, and it's that time of the year when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest, and we can expect to experience the most paranormal activity. Shetland had its own unique blend of hallowe'en tradition influenced by Christianity, with its roots firmly placed in old pagan customs.
We might dismiss Halloween as a purely American import into Shetland, and the UK more generally, but Shetland did have its own version of Halloween in centuries past.
To give a little context, I’ll draw you back to the 19th century, to a time where most people lived in crofts – or smallholdings – and lived a subsistence way of life, depending on the sea and the land around them to survive.

This time of year, as autumn transitions into winter, was one where people might finally be able to let out a collective sigh of relief as the hard work of summer had come to an end once more. The crops were harvested and the summer fishery ended. This was a time that people might expect to relax a little as the nights began to draw in and winter crept ever closer.
Samhuinn, held on 1 November, was traditionally a Pagan festival that morphed into the festival of Hallowmas as Christianity was adopted, and our traditional Pagan celebrations were given an ‘accepted’ Christian flavour – whilst still retaining many of their conventional Pagan customs. Hallowmas, or The Feast of All Saints, gives us the roots of the Halloween that we know today.
This week, I thought I would share a few ghost stories with you; so draw up a chair, dim the lights and pull a blanket around your shoulders because things might get a little spooky.

Oct 31, 202343:43
An interview with Ann Marie Anderson, author of the Peerie Ooricks books

An interview with Ann Marie Anderson, author of the Peerie Ooricks books

Welcome to episode 21 of the podcast - this week’s show is with Ann Marie Anderson, author of the popular dialect children's book series, Peerie Ooricks.

Ann Marie grew up on the west side of Shetland, and now lives on the island of Whalsay. She is a writer and artist who has created the lovable Ooricks – small characters who explore Shetland’s landscape, language and culture.

In today’s show, we speak about her series of children’s books, her love of the language and Shetland’s culture and the ways we can help to preserve and maintain the spoken language in Shetland.

We also speak about her work as joint convener with Shetland ForWirds, an organisation that aims to foster and promote the use of written and spoken Shetland dialect as a valued and essential element of Shetland’s distinctive heritage and culture.

You can sign up to become a member of Shetland ForWirds or access a wealth of dialect resources via their website.

Ann Marie’s work is available via her website or you can contact her on Instagram @peerie_oorick or at

This is the last episode of Season Two and I will be back in the autumn after the migratory birds depart for the summer!

This podcast would not be possible without the support of my patrons on Patreon.

You can support this podcast and help me bring more of them to you via Patreon.

Jun 08, 202138:31
Shetland dialect with Chloe Irvine *spoken in the dialect*

Shetland dialect with Chloe Irvine *spoken in the dialect*

Welcome to episode 20 of the podcast. Today’s show is a bit different, and due to popular demand, we are carrying out this interview, predominantly on language, in our native tongue.

In today’s show, I speak to Chloe Irvine who grew up on the island of Whalsay and has just completed her degree in Journalism at Edinburgh Napier University. Chloe talks to us about the transition between living in Shetland and studying on the mainland (Scotland), and how she has had to deal with varying degrees of language discrimination during this time.

We speak about ways that we can protect and promote the dialect and its usage, and Chloe shares a poem in the dialect that she wrote to tackle and highlight some of the feelings that are brought to the surface when language discrimination takes place.

I’ve left a disclaimer at the beginning of the show to say that, as this is in dialect, it may be difficult to understand but, we felt that it was important for you to hear the language spoken to get a sense of how it sounds when it’s spoken amongst Shetlanders.

If you struggle to understand, play it back from the start and you’ll be surprised how quickly your ear can tune into the language.

May 25, 202146:47
The Shetland Bus Operation with Bill Moore

The Shetland Bus Operation with Bill Moore

Hello and welcome to episode 19 of the podcast. Today we have a very special guest and a fascinating topic to explore. Today I welcome Bill Moore, a local historian, to speak to us about the history of the Shetland Bus which was an undercover operation between Shetland and Nazi-occupied Norway during the Second World War. It’s a fascinating episode and I really enjoyed taking a deeper look into this period of our history with Bill.

On the show, we discuss many elements of the operation, including its roots and some of the early missions that took place. We look at the locations that were used locally and a few of the men who were key figures in the resistance movement.

The early days of the operation saw equal amounts of tragedy and success, and we speak about some of the harrowing stories from a few of these risky missions, including the story of the Blia, Axel and Bergholm.

In 1943 the operation changed with the arrival of three sub-chasers, gifted from the United States. We talk about how this changed the operation and how, today, we still remember the events of the Shetland Bus at the Scalloway Museum.

May 18, 202101:00:54
Some of Shetland's best walks

Some of Shetland's best walks

In today’s show, I talk about a few of my favourite walks in Shetland.

I begin by talking about the Eshaness Circular that sits in the northwest corner of Shetland and represents the best section through the flank of a volcano in the UK. It boasts the UK’s largest sea cave and some impressive coastal features, and 2,000-year-old archaeology.

I then consider walking some of Shetland’s National Nature Reserves, and, in this, I include the National Reserves of Hermaness, Noss and Sumburgh Head.

Finally, I share a few of my favourite walks for archaeology. I look at Mousa Broch, Culswick Broch and, lastly, the Neolithic temple at Stanydale.

All this and more in today’s show!


Support my work on Patreon

May 04, 202152:40
A guide to Shetland's archaeology
Apr 27, 202101:12:30
A Guide to Shetland literature - what books to read (fiction & non-fiction)
Apr 20, 202101:09:18
Shetland on Film: an interview with Greg McCarron from The Shetland Film Archive

Shetland on Film: an interview with Greg McCarron from The Shetland Film Archive

Hello and welcome to episode 15 of the podcast. This was an accidental podcast, so I may lapse into dialect a bit more as usual, and I don’t welcome my guest in the same way! But, today’s episode is with Greg McCarron from the Shetland Film Archive. Greg has been working for several years with the Film Archive, which is a charitable organisation that collects, preserves and protects the film material of Shetland, making it publicly available to be enjoyed. Recently the group received some funding to digitise more film material, and that’s what I’m chatting to Greg about in this call.

When I was listening back to the call, I realised that this was an interesting topic and would make a good podcast episode. Also, for those keen to get involved, listen to Greg and find out how you can volunteer to help the Film Archive.

Greg is also an old friend who now lives on the Scottish mainland and works for Scottish TV, so it was really lovely to catch up with him.

In this episode, we find out about the films that the Shetland Film Archive holds, a little bit about the history of film in Shetland and some of the technical stuff that I was unsure about - like when we start to see sound coming into these films.

I found out so much about the history of film and why it’s such an important historical tool.

So, let’s dive in and hear what Greg has to say.


Shetland Film Archive website

Shetland Film Archive YouTube channel

Shetland Film Archive Facebook page

Sailing boats and burning galleys - Greg’s favourite quirky film in the archive

Apr 13, 202141:54
Witchcraft in 17th century Shetland
Apr 06, 202101:03:02
An interview with ceramicist and photographer, Ellie Duncan, Island Ceramics
Mar 30, 202145:37
Interview with writer Ann Cleeves

Interview with writer Ann Cleeves

Today's guest needs absolutely no introduction - author of over 30 critically acclaimed novels, international worldwide bestseller, the creator of popular TV detectives Vera Stanhope and Shetland’s very own Jimmy Perez - I am so excited to welcome the hugely talented Ann Cleeves to the show!

In today's show, we speak about Ann's new book, the latest in the popular Vera series, The Darkest Evening, and her inspiration behind the Vera and Shetland series and about her time in Shetland and Fair Isle.

We discuss her writing routine and how she feels particularly drawn to Shetland as a place that she has been visiting for over 40 years.



Buy Ann Cleeves’ books and support local booksellers.

The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves.

Ann talks about Eve Eunson’s latest exhibition of Fair Isle chairs in Shetland Museum & Archives - this is the link to that exhibition.

Ann is a patron of the Fair Isle Bird Observatory Appeal. The Observatory is a key part of the Fair Isle community and was lost to fire in 2019. Fundraising efforts are underway to reinstate this research and holiday facility and donations are gratefully received.

You can book a trip to Fair Isle by visiting the Shetland Islands Inter-Island Air Service page or Inter-Island Ferry page.

Mareel is Scotland’s most northerly arts and music venue which Ann recommends to get a taste of the local culture. You can find out more about what’s on, here.

Get a taste of a few of Shetland’s many festivals here.

Ann also recommends a visit to Eshaness in Shetland’s north-west corner. This is where some of the filming for the TV series was done and you can read more about Eshaness here.

Take a look at my Shetland TV Series tours.


This podcast would not be possible without the support of my patrons on Patreon.

Generating an income from Patreon means that I can allow time to do these and buy all the hardware and software associated with podcasting. This has been a dream of mine for so long and you have really made it possible!

You can support this podcast and help me bring more of them to you via Patreon.

Dec 08, 202047:01
Interview with adventurer & blogger, Bee Leask @bumblebambi
Dec 01, 202001:15:16
Language in Shetland; the dialect, it's usage and challenges

Language in Shetland; the dialect, it's usage and challenges

Hello, and welcome to episode 10 of the Shetland with Laurie podcast.

This is a big one for me, and probably the most requested topic that you’ve asked me to discuss.

Today I’m going to talk about language in Shetland, and, if I’m honest - I have no idea where to start with it! It’s a huge topic and it permeates every aspect of life here; it is the very fabric that holds our community and culture together. Without this common language, that has evolved over the years, Shetland would be unrecognisable and our heritage far less rich and nourishing to those who live here.

This is such an emotive topic for me and it brings up so many feelings of both pride and also fear and sadness. It brings me pride because I’m deeply proud of our language, its roots and its place in our culture and heritage, and it brings me fear and sadness because, as with any other marginal language, it’s under increasing threat. It’s onstantly being eroded, changed and lost by external forces for various reasons which I’ll discuss as we explore the topic more deeply.

My accent and the language we speak here is something I am constantly asked about - especially when I have people on tours and they pick up on my strong accent, the intonation of my voice and the way I pronounce vowels in particular. Guests often apologise that English is not their first language, and to that, I tell them that it’s not my first language either!

So, let's dive in!

Links from the episode:

Blog about the Clearances in Shetland, as referred to in Rhoda Bulter’s poem.

Shetland For Wirds, a group that promotes and preserves Shetland dialect.

Dialect map of Shetland - this is where you can listen to the local accents which differ throughout the islands.

The Collected Poems of Vagaland - my favourite Shetland poet

Hairst is Coosed - The Rhoda Bulter Collection of poems


If you have enjoyed listening to the podcast, you can support it and help me bring more of them to you via Patreon.  Patreon also gives you access to unpublished essays, videos and much more!

Nov 24, 202045:39
A look at the mythical creatures from Shetland's folklore
Nov 17, 202036:24
Interview with Aimee Budge from Bigton Farm

Interview with Aimee Budge from Bigton Farm

On today’s episode, I chat to Aimee Budge from the Bigton Farm. Aimee, and sister Kirsty, took over their family farm in 2014 following the unexpected death of their father. Aged just 17 and 21, they have achieved great things since they took over, including an appearance on the BBC’s hit show  This Farming Life. They were also winners of the prestigious BBC Countryfile’s Farming Heroes Award in 2018

Today they manage and run the 350-acre farm, as well as another 350-acre farm nearby and an additional 300 acres of rented grazing land. Bigton Farm is in Shetland’s picturesque South Mainland and has panoramic views across the beautiful tombolo and St Ninian’s Isle.

The farm has about 90 cattle, 500 sheep, several horses and ponies and they grow 60 acres of barley.

Farming is in Aimee’s blood, and as a fifth-generation farmer, she is continually building on the hard work and dedication of all those who have gone before here. She is a real advocate for women in farming and promotes the Young Farmer’s Group both locally and nationally.

As well as working the farm full-time, Aimee also offers both farm tours and Shetland pony tours for visitors who are looking for an added layer to their Shetland experience – and where better to see the ponies than overlooking the sweeping sands of St Ninian’s Isle.

She talks about what farming in Shetland looks like, her time at agricultural college and parts with a final message which urges more women to get into agriculture!


Find Bigton Farm online on Facebook and Instagram

BBC Countryfile Farming Heroes award

The Award-winning Farmer

Shetland Young Farmers

Nov 10, 202051:01
Walking in Shetland and understanding the Outdoor Access Code

Walking in Shetland and understanding the Outdoor Access Code

In this show, we delve into the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and consider how we can access the outdoors safely and responsibly.

Shetland is a walker’s paradise; with long swathes of uninterrupted coastline, peaty moorlands, heathery hills and inland lochs offering something for all walkers who come here to enjoy the spectacular scenery. While we want you to enjoy every inch of our beautiful islands, we also want you to stay safe.

In Scotland, and Shetland, people have the freedom to roam and most areas are accessible through the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, but you must do this responsibly.

I come to this topic with no crofting background, I’m from a fishing family, but I enjoy long walks in the country and I too love to visit Shetland’s beauty spots. But, with this there comes a caveat; I – and we collectively – must do this responsibly.

It is our collective responsibility to ensure that we look after nature. And the overriding message is that our countryside is not a playground; it’s a habitat, it’s a workplace and it is incredibly fragile and susceptible to change.

There is often an idea that, in a small place like Shetland, walkers will not come into difficulty or become lost; this is a misconception, and with the best will in the world, walkers are often caught unaware as low cloud or mist roll in off the sea reducing visibility and making it difficult to find the route back to safety. In this episode, I touch on ways that you can stay safe while out-and-about.

If you do find yourself in an emergency situation or spot someone else in trouble, you should call 999 and ask for the coastguard.



Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Promote Shetland’s Walking Page

What3Words app

A walk to Hermaness in Unst

A walk to Culswick Broch, West Mainland

A walk to Deepdale, West Mainland

A walk to Burland Broch, South Mainland

A walk to Stanydale Temple, West Mainland


You can support this podcast and help me bring more of them to you via Patreon.

Nov 03, 202030:45
An interview with photographer, social anthropologist and designer, Alexa Fitzgibbon

An interview with photographer, social anthropologist and designer, Alexa Fitzgibbon

In today’s show, I chat to Alexa Fitzgibbon, an amazingly talented photographer, weaver, designer and anthropologist who first came to Shetland 12 years ago from France to study. She has since moved to Shetland and now calls it home.

In this episode, we chat about her studies on religion in the North Atlantic area and the relationships between the living and the dead. And as we are approaching Halloween, we hear about some of Shetland’s ghostly tales that she uncovered during her research and the burden of Protestant guilt that lives on in the lives of Shetlanders today. We speak about how the fundamental differences between Protestant and Catholic belief systems have contributed to a ghost society in many northern areas.

We chat about Alexa’s great friend, and world-renowned storyteller, Lawrence Tulloch who she spent a lot of time with before he passed away. His book on Shetland Folk Tales which she illustrated is linked in the show notes.

Alexa is a photographer and we speak about her photos and her love of portrait photography and capturing moments with people. With Christmas approaching family photo shoots make a great gift idea and you can book a session with Alexa via her photography page, Odd Poppy Photography, on Facebook.

Alexa also spends several days a week working as a weaver for the Shetland Tweed Company where she produces woven cloths, inspired by Shetland’s landscape and seasons. She explains how she became a weaver and the intricacies of producing bespoke cloths for the Yell-based company. We also consider the role of weaving in Shetland’s textile heritage.

Another of Alexa’s many projects is creating Kokeshi dolls. Kokeshi dolls are Japanese wood-turned dolls that are engraved and painted with bright and colourful designs. Alexa began creating these at home during lockdown and now sells bespoke, one-of-a-kind commissions all over the world. She talks us through the process of creating these incredible pieces of art.

Hear about all this and more in today’s show!


Shetland Folk Tales by Lawrence Tulloch, illustrated by Alexa Fitzgibbon

A blog about my trip to Yell where I encountered a ghostly presence that I discuss with Alexa in the show.

Alexa’s Instagram page @lex_in_the_north_sea

Odd Poppy Photography

Shetland Tweed Company on Facebook and Instagram

Tour recommendations for the Noss experience:

Seabirds and Seals wildlife boat trips

Shetland Seabird Tours

Private charter on the Mousa Boat to Noss

Hermaness blog

You can support this podcast and help us bring more of them to you via Patreon.

Oct 27, 202001:04:51
An interview with fisherman, Arnold Goodlad
Oct 20, 202001:13:17
An interview with Misa Hay of Shetland Wool Adventures
Oct 13, 202054:38
Episode with Chris Dyer: Garths Croft, Bressay
Oct 06, 202001:11:37
An interview with knitwear designer and teacher, Terri Laura
Sep 29, 202001:01:47
Welcome to the Shetland with Laurie podcast!
Sep 22, 202034:50