North Isles Pupils Experience Sail Training

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2 October 2023

Pupils from Baltasound in Unst and all three Yell schools had the opportunity to sail on board Swan in September thanks to generous financial support from Cooke Aquaculture.

Ten seconday three pupils and two staff from Mid Yell and Baltasound Junior High Schools sailed from Uyeasound to Mid Yell and were able to stay on board the ship overnight for an added authentic experience.

Over the next three days, another 46 pupils from lower primary age to secondary three were able to join the crew on board Swan, along with nine other staff and one parent. The day sails around the north isles area gave those on board a chance to learn about the unique and special history of Swan as a vessel and see how a traditional sailing ship is managed.

The trips included plenty of hands on opporunities under the expert guidance of the crew - all of whom were past sail trainees themselves and had their own early experiences of sailing aboard Swan.

Mark Lawson, Headteacher at Mid Yell Junior High School said:

"Once again the young people from Yell had the opportunity to participate in sailing activities on board the Swan. From overnight trips with our older pupils, to a turn around the voe with our youngest, they have benefitted from some fantastic experiences. Working together, alongside the very dedicated and welcoming crew they learned some important lessons about being on the water, about teamwork and valuing the world around us.

"We are so privileged to have the support of the Swan trust and their volunteers who help to keep this facility available and to COOKE aquaculture who very generously sponsor this activity. Their generosity, hard work and efforts help us to bring more ‘colour’ to our curriculum and help us to inspire these young people."

With Swan having recently taken part in the full series of Tall Ships Races in summer 2024, inlcuding a visit to Cullivoe in Yell as part of the Cruise-in-Company on route to host port, Lerwick, the crew were very pleased to return to the north isles. Sail Training is a very important part of what The Swan Trust SCIO focusses on with the work of the boat in order to further develop personal and practical skills for young people and ensure an inclusive and enjoyable experience for all. The Trust would like to add their own thanks to Cooke Aquaculture for their ongoing support of sail training experiences for young people in Shetland shools.


Want to get involved in maintaining and operating a traditional wooden sailing vessel? There are a number of different ways you can volunteer to safeguard, care for and sail this unique heritage asset.

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