Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The Baltasound Hotel and the Storm of 91/92

Tom Ellis (ex Saxa 61/63 and again 65/66) and his wife Wilma ran the Baltasound Hotel from 1984 to 1995. They also ran Hagdale Lodge which could provide 50 standby beds for offshore oilworkers. During this period the oil industry was very important to the economy of Unst. I’m grateful to Tom & Wilma for the information and pictures below. An earlier section of the blog describes some of the implications of the North Sea oil boom for the local community:
With the destruction of Hagdale Lodge in the New Year Storms 91/92 it became imperative that suitable accommodation be found quickly and installed on Unst as soon as possible. This need was increased by Chevrons plans to commence a major overhaul of 3 platforms in the Ninian Field.  After evaluating the alternatives Tom & Wilma placed an order with Pinelog Ltd in Derbyshire for 6 high quality wooden lodges, designed to meet the worst the Shetland climate could offer. An important element in placing the order was the speed at which the work could be completed – from order to commissioning in 10 weeks.
There were difficulties to be overcome such as the transport of the lodges from Derbyshire to Unst and the need to obtain planning permission quickly. However, after plenty of hard work the capacity of the Hotel was increased from 22 to 90 beds in less than a year. The pictures below tell some of this story. (Left click on pictures to enlarge).

A link to the current website for the Baltasound Hotel is below:-