Visitor numbers to the isles' soar

The Shetland Islands will be able to accommodate more yachts in 2010, after more than 500 vessels visited the Scottish islands in 2009.

The Lerwick Port Authority will expand berthing capacity by building new yacht pontoons and moving the cruise ship tender jetty from Albert Wharf to Victoria Pier.

Harbourmaster Calum Grains said: ‘These measures, which together will increase the port’s visiting yacht pontoon capacity by 50 per cent, are the latest in a series of yacht-related improvements in recent years which, along with Shetland’s many attractions, have contributed to making the harbour an increasingly popular port-of-call for crews.’

The Shetlands Islands Council is sponsoring the Round Britain and Ireland Race, which is expected in Lerwck between June 16 and 22 for a 48-hour stopover.

The annual Bergen-Shetland Race will will also return to Lerwick with over 30 yachts from June 17-20.

Thus mid-June will be a very busy time on the islands, especially as the races’ visits coincide with the the Flavour of Shetland festival, which will showcase the isles’ music, culture, crafts, food and drink from June 17 to 20, and the Shetland Hamefarin, from June 14 to 26, which welcomes home islanders from around the world.