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Northern Outpost (clip)

A look at transport, fishing and agriculture across the islands of Shetland

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This clip presents a look at the fishing industry and agriculture of Shetland and a look at travel between the islands and Aberdeen by steamship. The film opens with shots of Shetland's capital Lerwick, showing the harbour, Commercial Street and Park Lane. As the importance of Shetland to the herring industry is described we are shown fishing boats arriving at harbour and the gutting and packing of herring in barrels for export. We then see a passenger ship depart for the UK mainland before the clip joins a steamer heading north to the island of Whalsay. Upon arrival the steamer is met by flitboats which transfer the passengers and cargo to the island. After some shots of Out Skerries the clip moves on to Unst where we see Shetland ponies. We witness the rounding up of wild ponies and the bridling of one for work on a croft. The clip ends on a shot of the lighthouse at Muckle Flugga to the north of Unst.

Questions & Activities


  • Why are Shetland ponies famous?
  • What was the main occupation in Lerwick and what happened to the population during the herring season?
  • What was Muckle Flugga and why was it important?
  • What happened to the Out Skerries during the Second World War?


Research how the Shetland pony was first bred and in which places they were first used.

Examine this film and compare its subject matter and narrative technique with other documentaries made about life in Shetland.

Using this website and the Moving Image Archive catalogue at National Library of Scotland, find out what you can abut the life and work of Jenny Gilbertson (Brown).

Compile a fact file on Shetland looking at population, main industry, geography etc.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-117-C
Resource Rights Holder Courtesy of third party copyright holder
Project Ref 0773
Date 1940
Genre Documentary, Women Filmmakers
School Subject Social Studies, Geography, Media Studies
Who C. J. Cayley (director, producer, photographer), Jenny Brown (director, producer, photographer), Morton King (commentary)
Where Muckle Flugga, Out Skerries, Shetland, Unst, Whalsay
Event Fishing, Agriculture
Attributes Black and White, Sound
Clip Length 5:35
Film Length 16:00