Three of the last four Games were held in offshore financial centres, where tourism is also important,’ said Jones.’The industries in Shetland are very different, and these Games will reflect the diversity of an Island Games community.’From what he has seen, as he travelled over 125 miles going from one venue to another, the Shetlanders, who number no more than 23,000, are united in their desire to make the 2005 Games a week to remember.And although the core centre will be Clickimin Leisure Complex, where the running track has only recently been replaced and where swimming, indoor bowls, squash and archery will take place, some competitors will find themselves many miles away from the Shetlands’ capital, Lerwick.’I didn’t take the ferry to one of the other islands,’ said Jones.
‘But football will be played on Yell, on Unst and on Walsay.
Walsay is also where golf will be played, on the most northerly course in the British Islands.’Gymnastics will be held in Scalloway, a village about six miles outside Lerwick, where there are excellent facilities for gymnasts and where community-based accommodation will be provided.’Table tennis is being played in a school sports hall, at Sandwick, about 15 miles outside the island capital, and where competitors can also stay, if they want to.’Sailing and windsurfing will take place at Brae, 23 miles from Lerwick, and there is a three-star country pub/hotel where competitors might like to stay.’The main town itself is in a sheltered part of the island and serves as a crossroads between Britain, the Scandinavian countries and people en route to Iceland and the Faroes.It is a busy fishing port and the harbour, where cruise ships will be used as floating hotels for island competitors, is only a five-minute walk from the Clickimin centre.The airport, though, is 25 miles away.’I think the Games will be very community-based,’ said Jones.
‘From what I have seen of the facilities, they are first rate.
The Shetlands are investing heavily in them.
The squash courts have yet to be built; they are paying towards improving some of the football changing rooms; and are also contributing towards the two, or possibly three cruise ships which will be moored in the harbour.
They are also paying for 600 put-you-up beds which will be placed in community halls.’Guided by Gary Jakeman, general manager of the Shetland Islands Games 2005 Ltd, Jones also saw the 25m six-lane swimming pool, which, in terms of seating capacity, he described as ‘a cross between the Fort pool and Les Quennevais’.
He also saw quite a few miles of road which, unlike Jersey’s, are frequently deserted.’And unlike some of the half-marathon courses in other islands, I think the one they will run in the Shetlands will be challenging,’ he said.
‘It is unlikely to be flat.’How the Jersey competitors will travel to the Shetlands won’t be known until after an IGAJ council meeting on 14 January.
The choice is between chartering an aircraft, and flying direct, or going by boat from Tilbury.
The cost of both are about the same.