The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire)

Trot off to Shetland


orget the toy, My Little Pony, it’s little Shetland ponies that’s been the big talking point this year. Mari Williamson’s stallion, Socks, became an internet sensation after it appeared to be “moonwalkin­g” on a cliff in a television advert.

Two other pint-sized Shetland ponies, dressed in designer woollies, also found fame after they featured in a VisitScotl­and publicity campaign.

These four-legged friends helped drive up interest in Shetland, with people from throughout the world wanting to know more about the islands.

Ponies, with all sorts of wildlife, are just two things which make Shetland special.

It has a distinctiv­e landscape and environmen­t, unique culture, lots of sporting facilities, a lively music scene and offers lots of opportunit­ies for those looking for work.

In this part of the world, there’s an impressive array of homes to be found, usually with plenty of elbow room and bigger-than-average gardens.

There are crofthouse­s and cottages, farmhouses and bungalows and of course numerous homes ranging from the traditiona­l to new builds.

Formany a house hunter, it’s the improved quality of life offered by island living that is so appealing.

Last year, a Bank of Scotland survey rated Shetland as having the best quality of life of any rural area in Scotland.

Bank of Scotland economist Nitesh Patel said: “The islands score highly relative to the average for Scotland on several indicators, such as health, life expectancy, employment, average earnings, school results and low crime rates.

“Even average house prices are relatively low in relation to earnings, highlighti­ng that a high standard of living does not always come at a high price.”

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