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Seabed recorders can be our eyes under the ocean

To celebrate World Ocean Day, Euan Paterson, communications and media officer at SAMS, provides insights into work to gather underwater audio data, including the songs, calls and whistles of marine mammals.

We humans are simply fascinated with marine mammals.

Perhaps it’s their size, the distances they can travel or that some can communicate across an entire ocean. Maybe it’s because despite those things, we hardly get to see them at all.

After all, species such as whales and dolphins spend the vast majority of time below the water surface and out of sight.

But what if, instead of trying to see more, we listened better?

Scientists at SAMS specialise in a technique known as passive acoustic monitoring, which involves positioning hydrophones (underwater recorders) on the seabed and collecting audio data, including the songs, calls and whistles of marine mammals.

On recovering these hydrophones, the researchers gather terabytes of data and have to identify which sounds have been made by which species. This helps them to better understand marine mammal movements, population size and behaviours.

Such monitoring will be crucial as scientists seek to provide evidence for a number of policy and conservation decisions, including Marine Protected Area designation and management, marine renewable energy developments, fishing, aquaculture and shipping.

It is also important for the conservation of marine mammals to understand how climate change may be affecting their migrations and feeding opportunities.

Some species are so elusive that scientists need to rely on sounds to even estimate their population size.

In the case of the Atlantic white-sided dolphin, the species is so poorly understood in science that there are few accurate estimates on population size, although the dolphin is hunted in the Faroe Islands. Unlike the better-known common and bottlenose dolphins, it prefers the deep ocean to coastal waters and is rarely seen by humans, making it more difficult to study.

Scientists at SAMS have been examining recordings of Atlantic white sided dolphins to describe its vocal behaviour – or acoustic repertoire – in literature for the first time. From that foundation of knowledge, the marine science community will be able to better study this secretive cetacean.

But, while there are certain sounds that are unmistakably attributed to certain species, there are many sounds that can remain a mystery. The development at pace of artificial intelligence, however, is helping to fill the gaps. Passive acoustic monitoring scientists can use existing sounds to develop algorithms and effectively ‘train’ AI systems to do a lot of the identification – the proverbial heavy lifting – for them. This frees up time to work on identifying sounds that are less familiar.

On World Ocean Day (today), SAMS scientists have joined around 150 researchers across the world in deploying recording equipment as part of the World Ocean Passive Acoustic Monitoring project. It is the first ever global experiment to record the underwater sounds of animals in our ocean, lakes and rivers.

The aim is to gain a better understanding of the distribution of sound levels and types of sound in those areas around the world that occur at the same time. The recordings will also identify any man-made sounds, revealing our potential impact on the underwater environment.

A video on the fieldwork can be viewed here:

Meanwhile, SAMS has this week launched its #WhaleTalk campaign with the aim of promoting SAMS’ expertise in passive acoustic monitoring.

As part of #WhaleTalk, SAMS will organise a series of events throughout the remainder of 2023 and is this week launching its new Ocean Explorer podcast with a first episode on underwater sounds. You can listen to and download first episode here:

To keep up to date with our #WhaleTalk events, keep an eye on the hashtag across social media and sign up for our Ocean Explorer Update newsletter

To find out more about studying marine science at UHI, visit

Decidedly enigmatic structures – A rundown of the top UHI Archaeology digs to watch this summer

Summer is almost upon us, but at the UHI Archaeology Institute it’s not holidays that thoughts turn to but excavation.

The 2023 dig season begins in June and runs to September.

Four major digs resume this year – three in Orkney and one in Caithness – not only allowing research to continue but providing venues for our students to participate in archaeological field schools. All are open to the public so keep an eye on for updates and more details.

The Cairns, South Ronaldsay

Getting the ball rolling is The Cairns, in South Ronaldsay, Orkney.

Work began on the site in 2006, revealing a large Iron Age broch (c100BC-AD200) and structures dating from the Iron Age through to the Norse period.

Excavation of the broch has permitted unrivalled access to the superbly well-preserved, stratified occupation deposits, which are rich in artefacts and detailed environmental information relating to the use of the broch and the life of its household 2,000 years ago.

The archaeology of the Cairns broch presents us with both the monumental, architectural substance and more intimate and momentary details of human life during the many generations of inhabitation.

Accompanying, and surrounding, the broch is an extensive settlement of village houses that sit within a ditched enclosure some 65-70 metres in diameter. Later in the building sequence, the settlement sprawled even more extensively over the infilled remains of the enclosure ditch.

To date, 21 buildings have been partly or wholly excavated and these provide remarkable evidence for the range of activities and practices underway within the settlement, including food processing and consumption, metalworking, bone-working, textile production, and animal husbandry.

Also present on site are two fully preserved and still roofed underground structures; a souterrain, and a subterranean well-chamber under the broch floor.

The last full season of fieldwork at The Cairns was in 2019, with the 2020 and 2021 digs falling victim to the pandemic. Excavation in 2022 was on a much-reduced scale.

This year’s dig runs from Monday 12 June until Friday 7 July, with UHI Archaeology Institute lecturer and Iron Age specialist Martin Carruthers at the helm.

Ness of Brodgar, Orkney

The gates at the Ness of Brodgar re-open from 5 July, with the excavation running until 17 August.

The Ness of Brodgar excavation site occupies a central position within the Orkney archipelago, lying between the Lochs of Stenness and Harray, in the middle of the islands’ most imposing complex of Neolithic monuments.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the site’s discovery – in a field half-way between the Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar. Since then, archaeological research has uncovered an astonishing array of Neolithic structures (3700-2500BC) and a biography spanning millennia – from traces of Mesolithic (9000-4000BC) activity to the site’s Neolithic heyday, through to the early Bronze Age (2500-800BC) and a later episode of use in the Iron Age (800BC-AD800).

At its zenith, in the main phase currently under investigation (around 3100BC), the Ness was dominated by huge, free-standing buildings flanked by massive stone walls. This was much more than a domestic settlement: the size, quality and architecture of the structures, together with evidence for tiled roofs, coloured walls, and over 800 examples of decorated stone – not to mention the rich assemblages of artefacts recovered from them – all add to an overall sense of the Ness being special in some way.

This summer all eyes will be on a decidedly enigmatic building that lay buried beneath tonnes of deliberately deposited domestic refuse. Christened Structure Twenty-Seven, this rectangular building is as big as it is perplexing. Whatever it was, it is unlike any other examples of Neolithic architecture excavated in Orkney to date.

First encountered in 2015, this large sub-rectangular building is approximately 17 metres long by 11 metres wide, with walls over two metres thick. Its internal space is defined by enormous stone slabs – looking for all the world like recumbent standing stones – set horizontally along the interior walls.  Large, rectangular slabs were inserted in the gap between these prone orthostats and the wall, cladding the internal faces.

Unfortunately, after it went out of use, Structure Twenty-Seven fell victim to major episodes of stone robbing that saw most of its south-eastern and south-western walls removed. It had long been hoped that more of the north-western wall had survived, and, in 2022, that was confirmed.

As the overlying midden and rubble layers were removed the stunning quality of the surviving wall’s stonework shone through. It was, quite simply, exquisite.

Arguably the finest masonry uncovered on site to date, the wall was formed by regular courses of perfectly fitted stone, the precision of their placement unsurpassed. On top of that, the Neolithic builders had also incorporated a deliberate, but very subtle, curve into the length of the wall.  The outer face was also supported on massive projecting, or stepped, foundation slabs, some over two metres long.

But the good news doesn’t end there. Judging by the floor level of the building’s interior in 2022, the stunning north-western wall could survive to almost one metre in height!

Although elements of Structure Twenty-Seven’s impressive architecture have become clearer, the question of its age and role has not. Was it another variant of the monumental buildings elsewhere on site? Or something totally different?

And will 2023 see it give up some of its secrets.

Skaill Farm, Rousay

From prehistory we jump to more recent times and the ongoing investigations at Skaill farm on the island of Rousay. Work at the multi-period farmstead began in 2015, the results so far suggesting it may date back to the Norse period of Orcadian history, around AD1100.

Geophysical survey has revealed features below the remains of the 18/19th century buildings that correspond to several earthworks, such as platforms and enclosures, visible on the ground surface. The present farmstead is on a low mound, suggesting that the ground built up over numerous phases of activity.

In 2019, the remains of an 11th or 12th century AD Norse hall were revealed to the west of the farmhouse. The building, with substantial metre-thick walls, appears to be over 13 metres long.

This year, the aim is to clarify the relationship between the different areas of the site with the focus on the floor areas of the early farm buildings.

The excavation, which forms part of the international Looking in from the Edge research project, runs from 10-28 July.

Burn of Swartigill, Caithness

We leave Orkney for the final excavation of the season, heading south across the Pentland Firth to Caithness. There, from 14 August until 8 September, work resumes at the Burn of Swartigill – a collaboration between the UHI Archaeology Institute and the Yarrows Heritage Trust.

The excavations have provided a glimpse of everyday life in Iron Age Scotland – but a life that does not centre on the monumental architecture of the brochs. Since 2015, the excavation has uncovered the remains of a settlement area spanning over a thousand years – from c350BC until AD945.

For more information on archaeology courses at UHI, visit

Celebrating the Gaelic tree alphabet | A’ comharrachadh Aibidil Crann na Gàidhlig

To mark World Gaelic Week, Dr Mandy Haggith, a lecturer in creative writing and literature at UHI Inverness, shares insights into the Gaelic tree alphabet and a project which brings together forestry and literature students.

The Gaelic tree alphabet is an ancient link between the letters of the Gaelic alphabet and native woodland species. We don’t know how long ago it began but there are records from the 4th century AD and perhaps it is even older. Each of the 18 letters of the alphabet is associated with a tree or shrub.

A-B-Craobh (A-B-Tree) celebrates this link through tree poetry. The project began in 2011, International Year of Forests, with walks and writing workshops in woods and gardens throughout Scotland. It continued in 2013 when I was poet in residence in the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. The project has been supported by Scottish Forestry, the Scottish Poetry Library and a rich mixture of woodland organisations including the Woodland Trust, Reforesting Scotland, Trees for Life, Community Woodlands Association and many community woodland groups.

In 2018 the project came to UHI. Since then I have worked with hundreds of students exploring the interdisciplinary borderland between forestry and literature. Forestry students have been learning about tree folklore and writing poetry. Literature and creative writing students have been learning about trees.

My research uses various methods, but mostly poetry, to explore how to help students to escape out of their disciplinary box and learn using a blend of arts and science. I believe that this holistic way of learning is more true to Gaelic culture than being limited to one academic subject. We don’t see silos on the crofts where I live. Why do we have them in universities?

The project has established how important trees are to people and how deep our cultural connections are with trees in our landscape. Students of forestry love to discover Gaelic placenames that can give them clues about where trees and woods have grown in the past and where they can grow in future.

The students are hungry for more interdisciplinary learning. To solve the environmental problems we face we need to use both scientific thinking and cultural wisdom, both our brains and our hearts. Poetry is the perfect vehicle for this, being both intellectual and emotional.

Here is a poem from the project, combining words from many student poems.

Tree Wonder

they say pine trees bring gold

            soft blue haze

            strange circles below

            green between

a blanket bared for the growth race

            as the cycle of life goes round

            so many mysteries

            reach into the earth’s core

hush of the woods

            contagious calm



willows and their witches

            in wonderland

            waiting to welcome

            the tempted traveller

on the edge, the cusp

            you shine dark emerald

            veins of green

            feeding life into the world

a connection of ground to sky

            a meeting place

            for the earthbound

            and creatures who fly

older than our wars

            you watched us make peace again

            our lives are just a

            glimpse, fade while you linger

Guardian, why do you keep a vow of silence?

            I walk the land

            holding fast the branches

            sunset in my hand

(With thanks to Michaela Fioretti, Imogen Davidson-Smith, Marcas O’Brian, Rachel Orchard, Dougald Allan, Victoria Potts, Rebecca Loebbert, Sarah Tungett, Alicen Geddes, Rebekah Mackinnon, Leah Bliss and other students who chose to remain anonymous).

To find out more about the A-B-Craobh (A-B-Tree) project, visit: Yearning for Learning: how forestry and arts students feel about interdisciplinarity and  Mandy Haggith | A-B-TREE


A’ comharrachadh Aibidil Crann na Gàidhlig

Gus Seachdain Ghàidhlig na Cruinne a chomharrachadh, tha an Dr Mandy Haggith, òraidiche ann an sgrìobhadh cruthachail agus litreachas na Gàidhlig aig UHI Inbhir Nis, air beagan in-sheallaidh a thoirt seachad air aibidil crann na Gàidhlig agus pròiseact a tha a’ toirt oileanaich coilltearachd agus litreachas còmhla.

S e seann cheangal eadar litrichean na h-aibidil Ghàidhlig agus gnèithean coille dùthchasach a th’ann an aibidil na craobhan Gàidhlig. Chan eil fios againn cuin a thoisich seo, ach tha clàraidhean ann o’ chionn ~400AD. ‘S dòcha gu bheil nas sine. Tha gach litir, 18 dhiubh, ceangailte le craobh no preas.

Tha seo a comharrachadh a ceangal eadar bàrdachd agus craobhan  ‘A-B-Craobh (A-B-Tree)’. Thòisich am pròiseact ann an 2011, Bliadhna Eadar-nàiseanta nan Coilltean, le coiseachd agus sgrìobhadh ann an coilltean agus gàrraidhean air feadh na h-Alba.  Chum a’ dol e ann an 2013 nuair a bha mi nam bhàrd air mhuinntireas ann a’ Gàrradh na Lusan an Dùn Èideann. Tha Coilltearachd na h-Alba, Leabharlann Bàrdachd na h-Alba agus measgachadh do bhuidhnean beartach coilltearachd a leithid Urras Fearainn Coillteach, Reforesting Scotland, Trees for Life, Comann Fearainn Coillteach  agus mòran de  bhuidhnean coimhearsnachd fearainn coilltean.

Ann an 2018, thàinig a phròiseact gu UHI. O sin a mach, tha mi air obair còmhla ri na ceudan oileanaich anns a’ rùrachadh  eadar-dhiosaplaineach eadar Coilltearachd agus Litreachas. Tha na h-oileanaich Coilltearachd air a bhith ag ionnsachadh mu dheidhinn beul-aithris agus a sgrìobhadh bàrdachd. Tha na h-oileanaich litreachas agus sgrìobhadh cruthachail air a bhith ag ionnsachadh mu dheidhinn craobhan.

Tha an rannsachadh agam  a cleachdadh iomadach dhòighean, ach sa mhòr chuid bàrdachd, a faighinn a-mach ciamar a chuidicheas mi oileanaich a’ teicheadh a bocas dhiosaplaineach agus a ’dh’ionnsaicheas a cleachdadh measgachadh saidheans agus na h-ealain. Tha mi a’ creidsinn gu bheil an dòigh iomlanach seo nas fhaisge air cultar na Gàidhlig agus nach eil ceangailte le aon chuspair acadaimigeach. Chan fhaic sinn saidhlos air na croitean far a bheil mi a’ fuireach. Carson a tha iad againn ann an oilthighean?

Tha am pròiseact A-B-Craobh air a dhearbhadh gu bheil na craobhan cho chudromach do dhaoine agus gu bheil ceanglaichean domhainn ann le na craobhan anns ar cruth-tìre. Chòrd e ri na h-oileanaich coilltèarachd ag ionnsachadh na h-ainmean àite gàidhlig a tha toirt dhaibh tuigse mu dheidhinn far an robh craobhan agus coilltean a fàs anns an ùine a dh’fhalbh agus càite am fàs iad san àm ri teachd.

Tha na h-oileanaich acrach airson barrachd  ionnsachadh eadar—dhiosaplaineach.  Airson na duilgheadasan àrainneachail duilich a tha againn a chàradh – feumaidh sinn eòlas saidheansail agus gliocas cultarail a chleachdadh , ar eanchainn agus ar cridhean. Tha bàrdachd na inneal-giùlain forfichte, ann an dhòigh, innleachdail agus faireachail.

Seo dàn bhon phròiseact, a’ cothlamadh fhaclan bho iomadh dàn le oileanaich.

Tree Wonder

they say pine trees bring gold

            soft blue haze

            strange circles below

            green between

a blanket bared for the growth race

            as the cycle of life goes round

            so many mysteries

            reach into the earth’s core

hush of the woods

            contagious calm



willows and their witches

            in wonderland

            waiting to welcome

            the tempted traveller

on the edge, the cusp

            you shine dark emerald

            veins of green

            feeding life into the world

a connection of ground to sky

            a meeting place

            for the earthbound

            and creatures who fly

older than our wars

            you watched us make peace again

            our lives are just a

            glimpse, fade while you linger

Guardian, why do you keep a vow of silence?

            I walk the land

            holding fast the branches

            sunset in my hand

(Le taing dha Michaela Fioretti, Imogen Davidson-Smith, Albecca Louett, Marcas O’Brian, Rachel Orchard, Dougald Allan, Victoria Potts, Rebecca Loebbert, Sarah Tungett, Alicen Geddes, Rebekah Mackinnon, Leah Bliss agus oileanaich eile a roghnaich fuireach gun urra).

Gus tuilleadh fhaighinn a-mach mun phròiseact A-B-Craobh, tadhailibh air: Yearning for Learning: how forestry and arts students feel about interdisciplinarity agus  Mandy Haggith | A-B-TREE

Honouring our roots: a personal reflection on Up Helly Aa

With the Up Helly Aa season in full swing across Shetland, Selina May Miller from UHI Shetland provides an insight the festivals and what they mean to Shetland communities.

Selina with a member of the Jarl Squad in 2020

As a Shetlander, Up Helly Aa is a huge part of our social calendar. The dark nights brought in by winter are brightened by the lighting of fiery torches, symbolising to many of us the end of winter, the return of lighter evenings and the sun.

Growing up in Lerwick, Lerwick Up Helly Aa was a magical time of year for me. I grew up running around the town on the day of the festival trying to catch a glimpse of the Vikings and then, in the evening, going to the burning site of the galley and watching the replica Viking Longship burn in awe. The festival brings together local Shetland traditions from the Victorian era carried through to the present day.

What is Up Helly Aa?

From January until March, Shetland communities around the isles are alive with Up Helly Aa celebrations. The largest of the celebrations is Lerwick Up Helly Aa which takes place at the start of each year, on the last Tuesday in January. The festival lasts for over 24 hours and attracts thousands of visitors every year. On the Tuesday evening a torchlit procession runs through the streets of Lerwick, led by the Guizer Jarl (head Viking).

Steven Moar, UHI Shetland engineering lecturer

The procession is made up of over 1,000 men and (as of 2023) women, who take part. Those in the procession of flamed torches are named “Guizers” referring to the disguises worn by those taking part. Once the procession has concluded, the guizers throw their burning torches into a replica Viking longship and sing The Norseman’s Home, a local traditional song.

There are many different roles that can be had for someone wishing to take part. I have been lucky to be more involved in Up Helly Aa than most as a hostess at a local hall. Around a dozen local venues open their doors for the evening, allowing for guizers to perform acts, entertaining locals not taking part in the festival and visitors alike.

The evening part of Up Helly Aa is unique. As a hostess, I helped organise a local venue so that squads of guizers could come into our hall and entertain our guests with acts including dancing and singing. Even Wagner from X-Factor was in attendance one year!

Credit: David Gifford

What Up Helly Aa means to us

As someone who has grown up surrounded by Up Helly Aa, it is interesting to try to describe the festival to those who have never experienced it before. However, I will say this. To us Shetlanders, Up Helly Aa is much more than a fire festival with eclectic costumes and Vikings. It honours the roots of where we come from and is a massive part of our culture. Up Helly Aa is instilled in Shetlanders from a young age and we still celebrate decades thereafter.

Up Helly Aa is an experience like no other. I would say to as many folk as possible to come and see it for yourself.

Three cheers!

Green Week: Connecting with nature

As Green Weeks gets underway across UHI, Sandra Macrae, an MA health and wellbeing student, has shared a list of 10 ideas to support green health, highlighting the positive impact that nature can have on our health and wellbeing.   

Walking outdoors

The value of outdoor walks in green and natural spaces is recognised as supporting wellbeing in multiple ways that improve physical and mental health. Green walks can be organised for different mobility levels and are less about distance or number of steps and more about the simple benefits of people just walking outdoors together in natural spaces. Green walking is a sustainable, low carbon activity which not only promotes wellbeing by helping reduce stress, anxiety and depression, but also strengthens social connections and benefits the environment by developing our connection with nature.  


Bushcraft involves skills and knowledge that can be used for surviving outdoors in the natural environment. Wilderness survival starts with learning how to thrive outside in the elements. Bushcraft training courses teach the basics of navigation, building shelters, campfire safety, foraging for food and collecting water. It’s a green health activity in the truest sense of interpreting remote, wild places and their natural resources in order to use the environment in appropriately responsible, low-impact and non-exploitative ways. ‘Leave no trace’ is a good rule of thumb for respecting wilderness and sustainability is fundamental to bushcraft. Being in close relationship with nature allows us to see clearly what resources we’re using and whether we’re creating waste that can’t be absorbed or causing damage to the environment. Its ecologically responsible approach has made bushcraft a popular outdoor activity and it is recognised for helping people gain a greater understanding of and appreciation for nature, as well as protecting remote, wild places for the benefit of all.


Simply being outdoors in green spaces can improve wellbeing. If, however, we combine time spent in nature with meditative activities, the health benefits multiply because being mindful by bringing our attention to the moment helps us feel more connected to the environment around us. By slowing our mind, being fully present and focusing on what’s around us when we observe the natural world – the sights, sounds and smells – we can discover opportunities for experiencing a more meaningful connection with life. So, in moments of peace and quiet in green spaces, just pause to appreciate your surroundings, consciously increase self-awareness about what you’re feeling in that setting, breathe the outdoor air with purpose and connect more deeply with the essence of nature by recognising your whole self in it. 

Make a hedgehog café

What has happened to our hedgehogs and why are they now classed as ‘vulnerable to extinction’ in the UK? The simple answer is that there’s less room for hedgehog habitat because of urbanisation and intensive agriculture, and they’re also feeling the effects of climate change. Unfortunately, this combination of challenges in the modern world means that hedgehogs cannot safely roam, nest, feed, breed and hibernate the way they used to so there’s been a 50 per cent decline in their numbers in the last two decades. But there are simple actions that will support the hedgehog population while encouraging us to get active outdoors and be more aware of and connected to local green spaces. Making a hedgehog cafe in a quiet, sheltered outdoor space offers hedgehogs a safe habitat for nesting and provides much-needed sustenance. Even just nurturing a small patch of chemical-free garden and encouraging it to grow wild can have a positive impact on the environmental challenges facing hedgehogs.

Community gardening

Meet new people and learn about healthier living through volunteer work at a community gardening project. It’s a great way to get fresh air, physical exercise and to collaborate with people from different backgrounds while working on garden tasks such as sowing seeds, taking care of plants, watering and weeding, preparing the ground for growing plants, vegetables, and trees, as well as transplanting seedlings. Getting active in outdoor green spaces brings people together to promote social cohesion and combat loneliness, but above all it improves knowledge about horticulture, growing your own food to address cost-of-living challenges, sustainable living, wildlife conservation and how to take positive local action to address global environmental challenges.

Grow your own food

Food growing is a positive green health action that you can do in whatever space you have, from a garden to a community allotment, a window box or even just plant pots on a windowsill. You don’t need much space or equipment to start growing your own healthy and tasty fresh produce. Planting, nurturing and harvesting your own produce connects you with nature and encourages a healthier diet. For growing indoors, you’ll really only need to invest in a few pots, recycled containers or hanging baskets, seeds and some good quality compost. Strawberries, tomatoes, chillies and peppers will also grow well indoors in pots or a window box. Deep rooted vegetables like potatoes and carrots can be planted outdoors in garden space, a grow bag, an old bin or even a recycled supermarket bag for life! Growing your own food reduces the impact of global food processing, packaging and transportation, so you’ll be living more sustainably and helping the environment whilst doing yourself some good with a physically and mentally healthier lifestyle.


What could be a greener health activity than walking barefoot on the earth? It’s simple, easy to do and free. But there’s more to it than just taking your shoes off and feeling the ground underfoot. In the right circumstances, walking or standing barefoot in a natural environment can be a great stress reliever. We are, after all, part of nature, so the potential benefit of grounding ourselves to the earth makes sense. The healing effects of grounding are explored in lots of different YouTube documentaries including ‘Why I Almost Never Wear Shoes – The many benefits of walking barefoot’ by the American environmental activist Rob Greenfield. Some of the recognised health benefits believed to be associated with grounding include improving mood, reducing fatigue and restoring a sense of wholeness and balance in the body. At the very least it can feel good to be more connected to nature by increasing body to earth contact through walking, lying or sitting on grass or sand.


As an inclusive, low-impact exercise that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and all different levels of fitness, cycling is one of the easiest and most accessible green health activities. It’s fun, healthy, cheap and can be sociable. Regular cycling improves joint mobility, increases muscle strength and flexibility, enhances cardiovascular health, strengthens bones, improves posture and decreases body fat. Being outdoors means you are also getting more fresh air – especially if you join a community cycle project to connect with like-minded people who enjoy participating in an organised programme of non-competitive group cycle rides in local green spaces or on designated greenway routes around towns and cities. Plus, it’s a great green activity because it’s environmentally healthy for the planet with a low carbon footprint, too.


What is ‘plogging‘ and why has it become such a popular green health activity with more than 20,000 people doing it each day in over 100 different countries? The word ‘ploggingoriginates from the Swedish ‘plocka upp’ (pick up) and the English word ‘jogging’. It combines the worldwide passion for running with the pro-environmental activity of picking up the litter that spoils so much of our towns, cities and natural spaces. The idea of this sustainable initiative was the brainchild of Erik Ahlström in 2016 when he started taking rubbish bags with him to clean up the streets around Stockholm where he jogged. Thanks to social media, the idea quickly became a global phenomenon and all around the world people are now combining their love of outdoor exercise with caring for the environment. A sense of sustainable community action, solidarity and commitment to the environment amongst groups of ploggers who get together regularly, take photos of their sessions and share them on social media using the hashtag #plogging, is the main reason for the activity becoming internationally popular – especially with students.

Natural art collages

Making a nature collage is a green health activity for anyone interested in connecting with the environment in creative ways. It can be as simple as using what you find in a garden, local green space, woodland or wilderness area, or a beach, to create a collage of what you’ve collected while out walking. It’s all about looking at your finds, connecting thoughtfully and creatively with them, being observant of any interesting themes such as the seasons or the wildlife that might be associated with the objects and then exploring the different shapes, colours and textures in whatever way you feel inspired as a mindful maker of natural art. When we use what we have in our local environment to help us connect with nature and create art, it’s an opportunity to positively deepen our understanding and respect for the whole planet.

To find out more about UHI Green Week, visit

Not dark yet: A reflection on the need for compassion in difficult times  

Dr Innes Visagie, a senior lecturer in philosophy and theology at HTC in Dingwall, offers a personal reflection on the war in Ukraine and the importance of compassion.

It is late November 2022. The days are much darker. Still, a few days to the December solstice. The darker days bring to mind Bob Dylan’s song Not Dark Yet from his album Time Out of Mind (1997). The full refrain reads: ‘It’s not dark yet but it’s getting there’. Dylan is reflecting on existential darkness. The winter solstice, however, connects to dark days in the Northern hemisphere when the earth’s pole reaches the maximum tilt away from the sun.

Another contributor to increasingly darker days is Vladimir Putin with the invasion of Ukraine. In addition to the inconceivable suffering this causes the Ukrainian people, there is also the broader consequence of the energy crisis. Darker and colder homes are increasingly part of our everyday experience. Maybe there is more to the invasion of Ukraine than physical darkness and coldness. Perhaps, as in Dylan’s case, it connects to an existential darkness. Many political commentators opined that Putin is isolated with only a handful of advisors. Such a strategy leaves little room to take onboard the views of others. His constructed lens is reduced to a dark, narrow tunnel vision. There is little room to add some perspectival light.

Not a political advisor, but someone who has a huge appreciation for Russian culture, I would suggest that Putin revisit the rich heritage of Russian literature. Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment might be a good starting point for him. The protagonist, Rodion Raskolnikov, is an ex-law student who finds himself in Saint Petersburg, living in poverty, not being able to pay his rent. He struggles to relate to other people. The garretwhere he stays in a block of flats is dark, basic and, from his room, he looks down on people. Yet, he believes he is someone extraordinary, comparing himself to Napoleon, therefore, he concludes that it is justified to commit a murder to steal money to change his life. He murdered a pawnbroker and her sister. Following the actual crime, the self-justified belief soon crumbled. He experienced intense guilt. Supported by his sister, as she reads to him from the bible, he confessed his act to the police and was deported to Siberia for as his punishment.

Dostoevsky used Christian themes and symbols to explain why people suffer in this world. Symbols like the cross and the story of Lazarus from the Christian scriptures are repeated themes in this novel. In many of the characters’ lives, Christian symbols are present, but it often fails to connect to the deeper meaning of love, suffering and redemption. The lack of faith, pride and the inability to love or connect to people are Dostoevsky’s explanation of why people suffer in this world. Raskolnikov, after the confession of his crime to the police and during his time in Siberia, experienced a transformation. Prior to this, he was alienated from society, experienced loneliness, was unable to love and connect with other people. Raskolnikov’s problem was that he perceived other people as instruments to be used for his own benefit. While in Siberia, he is transformed into a person who realises that crime is not in the first place the murder of a person itself, but it is ultimately the denial of love towards others which then results in crimes like murder.

Putin’s crime in Ukraine is his denial to offer love to the people of Ukraine in pursuit of his ideology of an extended Russia, resulting in the death of both Ukrainians and Russians. Raskolnikov initially rejected traditional Christian morality. He believed he was beyond the law and justified in murdering two people to change his situation. Putting his theory into action propelled him into a conscious struggle which eventually is resolved through his suffering.

Will such realisation ever dawn upon Putin? He, like many of Dostoevsky’s characters, is superficially connected to Christian symbols. Putin has done a lot for the Russian Orthodox Church, attending the Church Conference in Moscow and often refers to the Church in his speeches. Like some characters in Crime and Punishment, such superficial connections to religion do not necessarily connect with the core values of the Christian ethos, namely, compassionate love, righteousness, the grace of forgiveness, and faithfulness.

As we enter the darker days of winter in Scotland let us remind ourselves of the brokenness of the world we live in and endeavour to reach out to others with compassionate love in all righteousness, willingness to forgive and with faithful commitment.   

To find out more about courses available at HTC, visit

16 days of action – raising awareness of gender-based violence

As the 16 days of action campaign gets underway, Erica Clark, a Mental Health Coordinator at UHI Outer Hebrides, shares information on gender-based violence and how to access support.

Here to help

Student life can demanding as you try to balance home and study life, meet deadlines and find time to relax. Coping with these new challenges can have an impact on your mental health.

Your wellbeing is a priority for student services and, before we go any further, we want to remind you that you don’t have to cope with these issues alone. Our student services teams can offer advice and support on a range of issues.

16 days of action campaign

UHI is participating in the global 16 days of action campaign to raise awareness of gender-based violence, from Friday 25 November to Friday 9 December. During the 16 days, we will be sharing videos and stories on our social media and displays on campus. We know that this topic can be triggering. If you want to access any support during this time, we have provided a range of support services below.

What is gender-based violence?

The United Nations describes gender-based violence as ‘harmful acts directed at an individual based on their gender’. Gender-based violence is a term that covers a range of abuse and can include domestic abuse, rape and sexual assault, child sexual abuse, stalking, sexual harassment and intimidation.

Gender-based violence is never the fault of the victim/ survivor and the UHI is committed to supporting any student who is a victim/ survivor of gender-based violence, regardless of their gender, sex, or sexual orientation.

Gender-based violence can affect anyone at any point during their lives. It affects people in different ways, but it can often lead to victim/ survivors feeling alone, isolated, angry and worried. It can also lead to depression, anxiety, flashbacks, sleep problems, problems with eating and being unable to concentrate.

Getting support

Whether you’ve experienced gender-based violence recently or in the past, UHI is here to support you to take whichever steps you want to take next. We understand that these experiences can be extremely isolating, frightening and upsetting. We are committed to ensuring that our campuses are a safe place and that we support students to achieve their full potential.

You can find out more about the support available on our gender based and sexual violence webpages.

You can also access support through the TogetherAll and Spectrum Life (call 0800 031 8227 or WhatsApp / SMS: 00353 87 369 0010) services.

Celebrating our volunteers and their powerful contributions in our communities

To mark this year’s annual Volunteers’ Week, UHI careers and employability officer Helen Anton and student development officer Aimee Harvey share why volunteering is important and highlight some of our students and graduates working in their communities to make a difference and improve lives.     

Good for you and good for others

There are many reasons why people volunteer. It’s a chance to give something back, make a difference, develop new skills, gain confidence, improve self-esteem and make new friends, not to mention the impact it can have on your CV and personal career management: the benefits to individuals, their communities and wider society can be enormous.

In recognition of this, Volunteers Week takes place from 1 to 7 June every year, providing a chance to remember the fantastic contribution volunteers make to our communities as well as saying a big thank you to them.

As well as helping others, volunteering has been shown to improve volunteers’ wellbeing.  We all know how good it feels to help someone out or to feel like you’re making a difference in your community.

During 2020 and 2021 an amazing 16.3m people volunteered through a group, club or organisation with almost one in five people (17%) reporting that they volunteered at least once a month, that’s about 9.2m people. Amongst these volunteers are some fantastic UHI students and graduates, working tirelessly in their communities to make a difference and improve lives.

Corinne Ferguson, is studying Sustainable Development (Hons) at UHI Outer Hebrides

I have volunteered since I was a teenager (I’m now 61!)) and I’ve always been interested in our environment and consuming less. I realised a few years ago that single-use plastic was becoming a real issue and it’s something that is understood by the general public who are increasingly trying to do their best to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’. 

Logo - Plastic free communities, surfers against sewage
Logo – Plastic free communities, surfers against sewage

I am the lead volunteer in Nairn for Plastic Free Coastlines (Surfers Against Sewage) which involves working towards Nairn becoming accredited as a ‘Plastic-Free Town’. There are five objectives: to get the local council to pass a resolution saying they support plastic reduction, recruit community allies, raise business awareness, organise a steering group and hold two community events per year. This involves me working with different groups such as the Scouts, Brownies, local businesses, local environmental charities and local MPs.  I’ve been doing this role for four years and we have done lots of beach cleans and awareness-raising events which have been well supported locally. 

The benefits to me of volunteering are that I get to work creatively with amazing people (often children and young people who have got so many ideas about how to do things differently) and I also get to network with lots of interesting organisations. 

I have gained so many transferrable skills, such as communication – for example, listening, negotiating and presenting. Networking with other organisations in my local community helps me realise what’s going on locally. I feel that I’m doing something worthwhile. 

Volunteering is often more challenging than working. I think you gain more skills and there are opportunities for leadership and to be dynamic and creative in a way that you might not get when working in a paid job.  You also often work in places where there are generally no hierarchies like you might get at work, and this requires real skill in negotiation and building up your charisma!

Holly Gray is studying Geography at UHI Inverness and is based in Forres

My volunteering involved undertaking monthly surveys on invasive giant hogweed plants. I would record some details about the plot including hogweed coverage. I would then remove the giant hogweed seedlings from the plot in a method to replicate a sheep removing it from the ground. The primary purpose was to ‘mimic’ sheep grazing patterns and record giant hogweed regrowth after the seedlings had been grazed, to see if introducing sheep onto land that has high hogweed coverage is a successful way of managing it. 

Holly spraying plants in a field
Holly Gray carrying out fieldwork

As I began my degree in 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, fieldwork became unmanageable for the most part. As I study geography, this was a big concern, so when I heard about this opportunity, I thought it was a fantastic way of bringing myself up to speed with fieldwork whilst volunteering for a great cause, especially as I am interested in a career in conservation. My volunteering gave me an insight into some of the roles in this industry.

Giant hogweed plants are non-native invasive species.  They have highly toxic sap and if it touches someone’s skin when combined with UV exposure, can cause intense damage through blistering. Removal of the plant isimportant as it reduces the danger to health, whilst allowing natural Scottish flora and fauna to thrive without being drowned out by these giant plants.

I felt happy to be a part of the removal effort, and I also got to experience conservation for the first time. It is a very rewarding non-strenuous or time-consuming activity. The work I did was for the Scottish Invasive Species Initiative, and I got to build my network because of this which led me to gain a placement with the project later in the year as part of my degree. Here I got to learn a broader spectrum of conservation activities including knapsack spraying Japanese Knotweed and American mink management.

My volunteering was easy to learn and I had the freedom to choose when I did my recordings and research. It was a great way of gaining volunteering and conservation experience which didn’t dominate important study time. It also forced me out of the house to take breaks, spending time in nature, even if some of the plots were slightly off grid!

Inne Withouck, is a fourth-year PhD student based at UHI Shetland

I’m the organiser of the UHI Shetland Green Team. I was inspired to volunteer as a way to meet like-minded people and to organise a lot of beach cleans, providing an opportunity for people to connect, and to learn about our natural heritage.

I gained great friends, and I’ve also learnt a lot from beach finds which help to understand how our seas are being used by people. It also motivated me to read the book Climate-Smart Food by David Reay, which I used to help make an exhibition about food for the Briggistanes canteen in our Lerwick Campus.

I would definitely recommend other students to consider setting up similar initiatives as it provides a platform to bring people together on the issues they want to do something about. Volunteering also allows you to connect with like-minded people and make positive changes to your campus and to your local community. 

Here is a video made by the group which gives top tips on how to set up your own Green Team at your campus.

Brian Whitters, is a second-year BA (Hons) Gaelic Scotland student based at the Isle of Barra campus of UHI Outer Hebrides.

I am a volunteer speaker for the Charity Prostate Cancer UK and I deliver awareness-raising talks throughout Scotland, both in person and virtually.  I was inspired to volunteer as I had prostate cancer myself and wanted to highlight to people in Scotland the dangers associated with it.

The benefits of volunteering to me are innumerable. Mainly I walk away with a feeling of goodwill and accomplishment when I deliver my talks. The benefits to my community are mainly that men and women are more aware of the dangers of prostate cancer. They are informed of the early signs of the cancer and they are also informed of their rights.  What I gain from my volunteering is a feeling that I actually did something to hopefully stop other men from walking in my shoes.

Sam Smallwood, is a first-year Psychology student based at UHI Inverness

I volunteer on my local school’s Parent Support Group (PSG). I was inspired to volunteer as it is important to me to be able to help support the local school which my children attend.

By volunteering with the school’s PSG, I help to raise funds and support the school community to provide more educational experiences for all the pupils. We are currently working on fundraising to improve our outdoor spaces, which the whole community can also enjoy.

I feel good when I see the extra equipment, resources and trips the children get to enjoy as a result of the PSG’s work. I also enjoy attending different events for the social aspect, both with other parents, our local community and having fun with the children at sporting events too.

It is easy to get involved.  Most smaller schools will be looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help with fundraising to be able to provide even more opportunities for their pupils and extend their resources to cover more extra-curricular activities.

Kaleigh McKechnie is studying for a Child and Adolescent Mental Health CPD award on the MA Health and Wellbeing through UHI Outer Hebrides

I am a volunteer football coach for U7’s and U13’s, in two different teams, two times a week. I was inspired to volunteer because of the lack of female coaches on the island. My twin boys attend football training regularly and there is a lack of coaching staff overall on the island, so it was a case that someone had to do it so that the children could attend the sessions. 

The fact that I thoroughly enjoy football makes a massive difference to the young people too. They pick up on the passion you have for the game, and this allows them to feel comfortable and build relationships with you as a coach and with the other young people that attend the sessions who they may not have known otherwise. I love the way a ‘game’ can bring a group of different people together.

There are so many benefits to volunteering. For example, building positive relationships with children who might otherwise go under the radar; it also allows you to influence their game and hone their skillset. Through positive reinforcement they will remember that forever, and the relationships built help create a stronger sense of belonging and community.  As a result of my volunteering, I have gained qualifications, experience and confidence.It can act as a support, not only for the people you work with, but also for yourself, it’s another reason to get up and go. Yes, it can be pressure, but if you are supporting people doing something you love, then just go for it.

Amira Murray and Megan McMillian currently study Personal and Vocational Studies and Hair and Beauty through UHI Outer Hebrides

Amira and Megan both deliver hairdressing and beauty taster sessions to P7 children from a local afterschool club.  Amira was inspired to get involved because she really wanted to help the girls to learn to do hair and nails to help with their own presentation and confidence.  She really enjoys helping people to learn and uses her skills to help support them. 

She gains lots from volunteering and loves to see the smiles on the children’s faces when they learn how to do something. She also thinks volunteering is great fun as well as letting her help others and give something to the young people in her community.

Megan also loves the idea of helping younger children who are interested in learning how to do hair and beauty and recognises the importance of getting children to enjoy something that they are interested in. She gets the enjoyment of teaching the children while boosting their confidence and making them smile.  Megan recommends volunteering as it gives her a great sense of achievement knowing that she is sharing the skills she has learnt through teaching and supporting the children.

Amira (left) and Megan (right) are currently working towards their Saltire Awards which celebrate youth volunteering in Scotland.

Looking to volunteer?

The university’s Careers and Employability Centre can help you prepare, get involved and find opportunities. Check out the Job Shop or book an appointment to chat with us, simply log into our Future Me service using your normal student username and password or if you are about to complete your studies, register for our Graduate for Life service.

Volunteer Week 2022 takes place from Wednesday 1 to Tuesday 7 June. The week encourages and celebrates volunteering across Scotland. For more information on student volunteering, more inspiring volunteer stories and how to find an opportunity that’s right for you, visit Get involved – Volunteering (

Enjoying student successes at the MG ALBA Scots Traditional Music Awards

Ahead of the annual awards that celebrates and showcases the incredible talent that drives the traditional music industry in Scotland, Simon Bradley, programme leader of the university’s music and the environment masters course praises those recognised in nominations and reflects on their pathway.       

‘Hands up for Trad’

This year this annual event returns to Glasgow on Saturday 4 December.  Broadcast live from the Engine Works on BBC ALBA at 9pm, the award ceremony is one of the most anticipated in Scotland’s thriving traditional music culture.

Supporting and celebrating talent

Ahead of the ceremony, organised superbly by Hands up for Trad, I want to wish all the nominees well on the night and congratulate them on being recognised for their achievements. 

Once again, we have a fantastic group of music students and alumni that feature strongly in this year’s nominations. Each have studied with us in the 10 years since we have been delivering the BA (Hons) applied music degree and progression pathways for graduates.

Musical activity in Scotland connects communities in a myriad of ways and has a powerful significance to our cultural landscape, heritage and people.  At the university we recognise the important in bringing together industry with our students, and through our curriculum continue to develop novel collaborations with industry to unlock professional opportunity and practical support for our students.

Sheila Sapkota

Meet Sheila Sapkota. An alumnus from the Scottish Borders, she graduated from the BA applied music degree in 2018 and then progressing to the music and the environment masters programme. Her studies culminated in a final masters project that inspired the ‘Two Towns Housing Estate Youth Musical Outreach’, nominated in the community project of the year award, sponsored by Greentrax Recordings. 

Her masters programme springs from a desire to provide ‘Music for all’ in communities where gaps in provision are mitigated with free tuition and instruments. The flourishing of musical activity in these youth groups has produced noticeable benefits to her local community. By providing accessibility and flexibility to learn we can enable our students to be remain based in their own communities where they can apply their learning and contribute to local contexts.

“This band, in an area of multiple deprivation, would not have formed without the community project aspect of the Masters.” Sheila Sapkota

And we have more students, staff and graduates nominees.   

  • Madderam feature in the up-and-coming artist of the year award; and
  • Livewire by Mec Lir and Gaol by Rachel Walker, both nominated in the album of the year award

Invitation to our anniversary event 

Marking ten years since the applied music degree was introduced, we are celebrating with an online get together on Wednesday 24 November at 4pm.

Everyone is welcome to join our team based across the university partnership in discussion with graduates, current students and guests to reflect, remember and find out more about how you might wish to get involved in the future. As well as producing some of Scotland’s top performers and educators, for three consecutive years our innovative music programme has achieved 100% scores in the National Student Survey, highlighting the value students place on a curriculum which has developed strong community and engagement with industry and professional opportunity. 

Exploring a ‘Future Me’

Providing employment-focused conversation, connection and links with industry is fundamental to our award-winning music teaching recipe. The university’s careers and employability podcast series ‘Future Me’ offers valuable insights for our students and listeners to help to chart their future steps is accessible any time. Each episode brings a range of career stories and valuable advice, accessible to all in your own time.

In the latest episodes I talk to Donald Shaw, director of Celtic Connections about moving Celtic Connections online during the Covid-19 pandemic. Having worked at the highest level within the Scottish music scene his valuable insights are illuminating.  And it was my pleasure to talk with two of our music alumni, graduates Eamonn Watt and Ewan MacKay who share their experiences of life in the creative industries after graduation and forging their careers as professional composers.

The University of the Highlands and Islands is proud to be sponsor of the Musician of the Year award MG Alba Trad Awards 2021 for a third year.  University partner Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI is sponsor of the ‘trad music in the media’ award which will be presented by alumni Peter Wood @tartantunes

Shetland space day – inspiring a community

Following the first ever Shetland Space 101 Day on Saturday 6 November, Dr Brendan Hall, Shetland UHI’s Business Development and Projects Officer, shares insights on the motivations behind the event, the day itself and how Space 101 fits into wider plans in Shetland.

The buzz around space has been building in Shetland since plans were announced for a vertical-launch spaceport in Unst, Shetland’s (and, therefore, the UK’s) most northerly isle in 2018. The spaceport is being developed on the site of a former RAF radar station and will provide launch sites and associated services alongside ground stations for relaying data from satellites.

Shetland’s space skills pipeline

Shetland UHI is one of the key partners in Shetland’s space education, employment and skills pipeline.

The pipeline has four main aims:

  1. Creating an authentic, positive buzz for space in our school communities by providing genuine opportunities and inspiring young people in the space industry sphere.
  2. Developing a sustainable careers awareness pipeline for children through and beyond school.
  3. Enabling new partnerships between providers and employers within and outwith Shetland, including building a local apprenticeship pipeline and developing a local workforce for children and young people beyond school.
  4. Providing new networks and materials for teachers and other education staff in Shetland and professional development opportunities in this field.

Through Shetland’s space education, employment and skills pipeline children and young people in Shetland have been able to attend virtual ‘space camps’ and participate in space-themed competitions, all of which are helping to inspire the next generation of budding astronauts, data analysts and aeronautical engineers.  

As the new college for Shetland, we at Shetland UHI are keen to play our part in inspiring the whole community to take an interest in space and the exciting opportunities offered by having a spaceport on our doorstep. With Shetland Space 101 Day we wanted to offer an opportunity for people across Shetland and beyond to learn more about space and what it means for people in Shetland.

Space 101 event

As the name suggests, Space 101 was aimed at a general audience of all ages. Working to the maxim that ‘space is for everyone’, we collaborated closely with colleagues at Saxavord to design a programme which would have a broad appeal to anyone interested in space and the space sector, while also exploring what the development of the Unst spaceport might mean in the Shetland context.

In light of COVID-19 restrictions, we settled on a hybrid event based around a series of online talks (from Shetland UHI-based and external speakers) alongside some interactive space-related activities at our Lerwick campus.

With the support of Saxavord UK Spaceport, we were able to recruit a fantastic group of engaging experts to compliment the talents of our colleagues at Shetland UHI. The speakers and subjects included:

  • Dr Andrew Jennings (Shetland UHI) who explored how our ancestors looked at the stars with an introduction to Celtic and Norse astronomy
  • Dr Christina Mackaill (York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) who provided a fascinating insight into the effects of space exploration on the human body and the emerging field of space medicine
  • Dr Simon Clarke (Shetland UHI) who examined the history and heritage of RAF Skaw (the proposed spaceport site) and the role of heritage management in contemporary development
  • Dr Hina Khan (Spire Global) who explained why space is such an important and growing part of the Scottish economy, with an introduction to everyday satellite usage
  • The Endeavour Team (a student-led rocketry group based at Edinburgh University) who offered an inspirational insight into their ambitious plans to build space-faring vehicles in Scotland

The talks were livestreamed on Shetland UHI’s Facebook page. This was a new experience for us, but something we were keen to get to grips with to enhance our community engagement and outreach. Space 101 day provided the perfect testing ground for this and it’s safe to say we learned a lot on the day! All the talks are available to watch online.

On-campus activities included a virtual reality space experience, facilitated by the Shetland UHI computing team (Anna Breimann and Euan Robertson). Anna is also Shetland UHI’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) lead and provided lots of informative and interactive materials including models of space vehicles – from Mars Rovers to Saturn V rockets.

The future

It’s fair to say that the creation of a spaceport in Unst will have a profound impact on Shetland’s industrial landscape and the opportunities available for local people. The pace of development in the ‘NewSpace’ sector is almost bewilderingly rapid and the range of potential careers and associated skills needs are vast.

In line with the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Islands Strategy, we will work to align the university’s curriculum, at all levels, with key sectoral priorities in this (and other) rapidly developing industries in the islands. Handled properly, there is little doubt that the burgeoning space industry can help us to retain and retrain skills and high-quality jobs, while also attracting new talent from elsewhere to live, work and study in Shetland and the other islands.

Shetland UHI is committed to helping to maximise the benefits of the industry locally and across the region. We continue to work closely with Saxavord UK Spaceport and our other pipeline partners and hope that this will have been the first of many Space 101 Days.