Sunday, July 18, 2010

Heland - A Shetland Bus boat.

Built in 1937, just next door to the yard I work in now, the M/K Heland is fairly typical of the fishing boats from that period.
60 feet long and was powered by a 85hp Håhjem engine.
Owned by Severin A. Roald, Arne A. Roald, and Olav Røsvik, from the island of Vigra, where Ålesund airport is now located.
The boat was used, depending on the season, for herring, cod, or halibut fishing, and even whaling.

She has been painstakingly restored, between 1994 and 1998, to her former glory. Here's a picture of her lying at the Sunnmøre Museum at Ålesund.
Her role changed dramatically from fishing when Norway was occupied by the Germans during World War 2. Between November 1941 and February 1942 she made several trips to Shetland carrying refugees from the Ålesund area. From then on she became one of the Shetland bus boats and made many crossings to Norway from Shetland, transporting weapons, ammunition, refugees, and resistance fighters.
She continued in this role until until late 1943, when 3 American submarine chasers, the Vigra, Hitra, and Hessa, took over the Shetland Bus crossings.

After the war she continued to operate as a fishing vessel until the late 1960s. In 1963 she was fitted with another engine, a 140hp Heimdal, which was built in Molde in 1953.

In 1971 she was donated to the Sunnmøre museum and eventually restored.

She has returned to Shetland since her restoration. Her first visit was in 2002 when she transported stones to Shetland for the Shetland Bus Memorial. The stones had been collected from the home areas of all 44 men whose deaths are remembered on the memorial. The Heland returned again to Scalloway in 2003 for the unveiling of the memorial.
Much more information can be found at these links:
The Shetland Bus Boats - Shetlopedia
The Shetland Bus Memorial - Shetlopedia

That's some of the history, now here's some more pictures.
And here's my favourite picture, the engine.
The man who showed us around gave an excellent description of the engine and all its workings.
Here's a view down to the crew accommodation, looks a bit cramped.
But they had room for a nice little stove.
The picture above the crews cabin table is Scalloway Harbour, and the plaques to the right of the picture are from the Shetland Islands Council and Lerwick Port Authority.
I think I would kill to have the old radio on that table.

Anyway, it's a fascinating boat to look around, so if you ever get the chance, don't miss it.

Yun's aa fir enoo.

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