Season’s Greetings and 2022 Round-Up

Posted by Brydon Thomason on Wednesday 21st December 2022 | News

Otter family

Otter family, by tour participant and long running returnee, Jo Cheetham

Nearing the end of what has been a busy and special year, all of us at Shetland Nature wanted to share a short round-up of this year’s news and highlights – and of course offer our season’s greetings. I begin though by saying just how good it was for things to have returned to some sort of normality. Welcoming so many guests, from so many countries and sharing our islands, history, heritage and especially wildlife again, really did feel special. So we say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has been with us this year.

Our gratitude in this sense is extended even further to those who have carried over bookings for a year or more. The trust, patience and understanding is hugely appreciated and has helped us come out the end of a very difficult period – and bounce back to interest and demand as strong as any other year. To already see the 2023 Holidays and Photo Tours program already not far from booked out really is incredible, especially considering the difficult times we are in.

Whilst mentioning our holidays, as always we are eternally grateful to our accommodation providers at The Sumburgh and St Magnus Bay Hotels, as well as the many self-catering properties and Guest Houses we use. We also must mention here the boat-tour excursions we do with Shetland Seabird Tours and Mousa Boats, who like the accommodation providers go above and beyond to make our itineraries what they are. It is a good opportunity here to highlight the amazing achievement of Shetland Seabird Tours for winning this year’s Best Visitor Attraction Experience at the Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards. By no means least, we thank our team of guides who work tirelessly to make sure our guests visitor experience is everything they hope for and this year, we were very fortunate to have some new faces join our team.

Taken by team member James Rogerson on one of our Noss Gannet charters
with our very good friends at Shetland Seabird Tours

Becoming a Carbon Neutral organization & our Rewilding Support

Over the past two years we have been enjoying and making good progress on our journey to become a ‘nature positive’ business. We recognise that although a small enterprise, we need to take responsibility for any impact we may have on the environment, whether large or small. This year we stepped up the pace on a journey to not only reduce our carbon footprint by becoming a Carbon Neutral Organization and also start supporting the fantastic Rewilding work by ‘Scotland The Big Picture’.

This is a journey that is not straight forward nor in some respects practical. Nevertheless, bit by bit, we are trying, and feel good to be taking responsibility on the areas we can. One such area is promoting awareness on our actual holidays. Here on Shetland, we have brought this journey hands-on into some of our itineraries to learn of the amazing work being done by Peatland ACTION Project.

Visiting one of Shetland’s Peatland restoration projects accompanied by their team, we see the work that is being done to mitigate the impacts of climate and grazing on Shetland’s blanket bog. We learn about the importance of this habitat, not only for Shetland’s unique biodiversity, but also in the global effort to combat climate change. Following the success and popularity of this excursion on our amazing new Kate Humble holiday, we are excited to introduce it to many more itineraries for 2023. We were delighted to work with Kate on this holiday and very much looking forward to 2023’s trip and having not being able to fit in last year’s, we are very excited to welcome back Iolo Williams to lead his fifth ‘Shetland Nature Experience’ with us.

Lastly, for now I sign off sharing news on how amazed we are to see all, (bar a couple of photo-tours) our core season holidays already full! This really is quite remarkable, particularly given the many issues we all face. As always though, please do still contact us as waiting lists are recommended, as people’s circumstances can change and places do occasionally become available.

Interest has been so strong that we are currently in the process of launching a couple of new itineraries, so we may yet have an option if you still hope to visit next season.

We’ll be back in touch on this in January, for now and from each and every one of us at Shetland Nature, have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!