One of the things I’ve been looking forward to on this trip is a visit to the Shoard Charity Shop. Located on the little island of Whalsay (pronounced “wall zah”) it is a shop with a reputation. When doing thrift shop research for this trip, I came across an article in the Shetland Times that referred to it as “the motherlode” and said that people used “hushed tones” when speaking of it. Given that most charity shops in the UK are small boutique style shops, this really is a treasure trove and was totally worth the ferry ride.
Whalsay itself is unusual. There are few amenities on the island: no restaurants, one small general store, a post office. It has a school and a leisure centre. It also boasts the most northerly golf course in Britain – which John played in the brisk wind before we visited the thrift shop. The island has a population of 1000 but you’d never know it. There’s barely a village centre and we really had to hunt to find this shop. Interestingly, it has many, many wealthy people living on it as was evidenced by the Audi’s, BMWs and Mercedes that we saw everywhere.
(Click on any of the photos above to read the captions.) The word “shoard” means to support or prop-up and they’ve been supporting people with disabilities since 1989. The shop is only open Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons from 2-4 pm. It’s cash-only and totally volunteer run. The shops is well organized and there’s a good stock of things to choose from. Things are reasonably priced if you’re a Brit – if you’re a Canadian and your dollar sucks, you pretend that you’re spending pounds instead of dollars and it’s all good.
I tried on a few things but nothing that I had to have – even the Shetland sweaters that were there weren’t quite to my taste. I did find some great things though!
This Hard Rock Café t-shirt will go home to my son.
There was a whole stack of Agatha Christie Poirot DVDs – starring David Suchet as Poirot who, in my mind, is the quintessential Poirot. I LOVE this series and would have bought the lot if I’d lived here but my suitcase can only hold so much. I made due with 4 that I haven’t seen yet.
John picked up a couple of Jeffery Archer books he hasn’t read yet.
Two big scores include this pair of Shetland Jewellery sterling silver earrings. I checked their website when I got home and discovered that these retail at 49.50 (pounds) – I paid 12 pounds. Woohoo!
The other score was handcrafted Shetland wool gloves (which I should have had with me when I was climbing Ronas Hill yesterday). The shop sells locally made knitwear and handcrafts, a percentage of which supports their charity.
It’s said that Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island was inspired by his time on Shetland. Pretty sure he didn’t shop at the Shoard on Whalsay, but I certainly found treasure here!