As many of you will have read, the world famous Fair Isle Bird Observatory has been lost to fire. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, but the building was completely destroyed and the residents have lost their home and possessions.
Fair Isle is administratively closer to Shetland than Orkney, but it can be seen from the hills above Kirkwall on a clear day and if visiting North Ronaldsay (home to another important bird observatory) it can look tantalisingly close.
The observatory building was assembled in sections and moved by barge from Orkney and a number of our visitors include Fair Isle on their tour itinerary. Fair Isle is not only famous for bird-watching – the wool products are distinctive and known internationally.
The loss of the observatory is obviously a great blow to the onithological community, but it will also have an impact on the tiny island’s economy. The building was the main provider of accommodation for visitors to Fair Isle, as well as an attraction in its own right.
We send the people of Fair Isle our best wishes and hope that they can recover as quickly as possible. Plans are already afoot to rebuild.