The Shetland Adventure - Michelle McAdoo’s Ordination
Jim McNeil, Terry and Irene made the long journey to Shetland for the Ordination of Michelle, at St. Columba’s
Parish Church in Lerwick.
On Tuesday 21 st . March we travelled to Aberdeen via Bankfoot, as Mr. Mc Neil had to attend a Presbytery
meeting. The journey was really good with no delays and, as we did not get lost we arrived in plenty of time to
get the overnight ferry to Lerwick. Although the Ordination Service for Michelle was on the evening of
Thursday 23 rd we were advised to allow a day to recover if the crossing was rough. Thankfully to sailing was
relatively calm compared to normal conditions. Terry and Irene opted for a lovely wee cabin with a window
whilst Jim had opted for sleeping pod, basically a bit like a child’s car seat but much bigger. The meal on board
was very good as was Jim’s chat before we retired for the night to hopefuly sleep away the 12 hours sailing
time. Although we were two hours late departing due to tide levels we arrived in Lerwick on time at 7:00am.
We were woken at 6:00am with a ‘Good Morning Campers’ style tannoy announcement. As we approached
the ferry terminal it was quite misty and wet and quite chilly.
We had been invited to join Michelle for breakfast and set off to drive down to Dunrossness about 20 miles or
so South of Lerwick. Almost the whole drive was in mist and fog and the SatNav in the car was confused by
over 100 miles out of synch, after 12 hours of no gps signal. Not being able to see any landmarks Terry
managed to get us lost twice when we got to the village of Dunrossness. Fortunately we spotted Michelle as
she waited to put Orla on the school bus.
Michelle had a marvellous breakfast organised for us, which was very much appreciated , after which we
parted company for the day, as Michelle and Jim had to prepare for the next day’s events, so they headed off
with some sightseeing en-route. Terry and Irene headed down to explore Sumburgh Head Lighthouse and bird
sanctuary however we were too early to see any Puffins. It was very windy and heavy rain showers so we could
not see very far. After heading for our accommodation to meet our host Aileen and drop our bags off we then
headed for the historic St. Ninians Isle, to walk across the tombolo beach, sea on both sides, joining the isle to
the mainland. The weather was still very windy but there were lovely periods of sunshine which added to the
enjoyment of our walk. We all met up again at Michelle’s in the early evening for a wonderful supper and
blether with Roger, Michelle and Orla. As Jim was staying in the Manse in Lerwick, Michelle drove him back
and Terry and Irene headed back with their host Aileen, a retired GP, whose house was a little over a mile
away from Michelle’s.
Thursday was a day for us to explore the local area a bit more before heading to Lerwick, meeting Jim once
again and having a wander round the Lerwick Heritage museum, which was fantastic with loads of artefacts
and interesting historic detail. The coffee, hot chocolate and scones were lovely too. We then went to find
Perez’s House (from Shetland TV series) and the beach, which unfortunately was under water as it was a high
spring tide. After a wander round Lerwick we went looking for the Church for the evenings service. We drove
round the town a few times checking out the church buildings that had a steeple but couldn’t find St.
Columba’s, spotting a couple of police officers we stopped and asked if they could direct us. The surprise
response was that they had only been in Lerwick for three days so had zero local knowledge. However one
officer used his smart phone and located it just 500 metres from where we had stopped. Turns out the church
does not have a steeple and we had driven past it a least four times.
The evening Service held at St. Columba’s , such a lovely church, known locally as the Big Church, for Michelle’s
Ordination was very special indeed and we both found it quite emotional. The service was followed by a
wonderful buffet and an opportunity to chat with many of the islanders who had been able to make to the
service, some having taken a ferry or two to get there. As we returned south to Dunrossness we were blessed
to be able to see the Aurora Borealis, which we watched for over an hour – Just amazing! Michelle is known as
a Pioneer Minister and now preaches in a number of different churches in the southern part of the Shetland
On Friday morning we explored Scalloway and Burra, two very small villages on the western side, peering into
one of the churches that Michelle, sorry Rev. Michelle McAdoo now preaches at. Irene was very excited to see
so many Shetland Ponies on Burra. After a quick lunch in Scalloway we headed to pick Jim up in Lerwick before
heading for the ferry.Our ferry journey from Lerwick to Aberdeen was via Kirkwall and again we were blessed
with a relatively smooth crossing. Having a traffic free drive we arrived back in Alva at 10:00am on Saturday
It was a very special few days for us and something we will always treasure.