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Out Skerries (clip 2)

a look at life and work on Shetland's easternmost islands

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This part of the film opens on a room in the Johnson household, where the family knit while listening to the radio from fishing boats at sea. Each member of the family is shown to be skilled in their craft, with the eldest, Katy, knitting a delicate Shetland shawl.
The "Comet" returns to harbour where it joins the "Constellation". Footage is shown from the church on Housay where a harvest festival is taking place. The "Comet" and "White Eagle" head out to sea again, and the clip ends on a variety of shots of the Skerries and their rocky coasts. Throughout the clip reference is made to the need for the the members of this small community to perform many tasks, and of the impressive results the community achieves with so few resources.

Questions & Activities


  • What crafts can you see being performed?
  • Why does each house have its own generator?
  • What is the harvest festival service and what does it celebrate?
  • What hymn are they singing?
  • Why do they listen to the fishermen at work while they are knitting?


Fish caught at Out Skerries is shipped to America. Find out if this is still the case today.

Describe the interior of the church and compare this to churches you have been in.

Research the significance of the harvest festival in religion.

How many of the foods shown on the alter at the Harvest Festival were produced at Out Skerries?

This film is directed by Oscar Marzaroli. Research his work and compare this film to others on this website and his still photography.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-004-105-C
Project Ref 2691
Date 1978
Genre Documentary
School Subject Social Studies, Religious and Moral Education, Expressive Arts, Geography
Subject Matter Literacy, Shetland Dialect
Who Aly Bain (music), Highlands and Islands Development Board (sponsor), Ogam Films (production company), Oscar Marzaroli (director)
Where Out Skerries, Shetland
Attributes Colour, Sound
Clip Length 6:19
Film Length 20:00