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Caain da Noosts

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As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, we sadly had to temporarily shelve our Burra Noost Project. In order to continue working with the community to record coastal sites and their stories during the lockdown, we devised the 'Caain da Noosts' project, enabling us to continue working with everyone in our own homes through the submission of photographs, archaeological information, and stories via an online form, email and over the phone. 

-- UPDATE-- We cannot thank you enough for your support and enthusiasm. This project has now closed for new records as we are busy working with over 150 new site listings that you submitted, however, if you wish to get in touch with us about a site, please feel free, we will still add it to our records, however, we are not currently updating our interactive map below -- 

Caain da noosts

This project was designed to enable you to share the information you have about boat noosts in your area. The information you shared with us was included on our interactive map, and it will also be used to update regional and national archaeological site databases. This information will help build a more complete picture of life in Shetland before roads, bridges, cars, and roll-on roll-off ferries.

Family Activities

We have put together a little book of activities and ideas to keep all the family busy at home. 


COVID guidance

Please follow the current covid guidance to ensure that you protect yourselves, those you live with, and your wider community.



The noost information we need 

  1. The location, estimated or actual dimensions.

  2. Detail of construction, for example, is it a free-standing noost with drystane walls, or is it a scoop out the ground? Is the noost revetted, i.e. dug into a bank with a drystane wall facing?


Added value information

We would also love to include a photograph or two, and any other information about the people and the boat(s) they kept in their noost(s). The people who generally know the most about the noosts in their area are usually elderly. Some older people do not have access to either a smartphone or a computer. If you know older people in your community who might be glad to share their noost knowledge with you then please do ring them for a chat.


How we will use this information

We entered all the information you provided into our database and shared the information on our  Caain da Noosts interactive map below. Once the data has all been collated and analysed we will also use this information to update regional and national archaeological site databases. By contributing to this project you have actively helped to preserve Shetland's unique maritime past. Now that lockdown has been lifted, the data on this map will enable us to work on archaeological surveys of noosts and more in-depth community and archive work. With this new data, we can build a more complete narrative of Shetland's unique maritime past. 

To use the interactive map 

Enlarge the map; select and then click on a site marker; the information about the noost will appear in a box on the screen.


Key to site markers:

  • Green markers are sites listed by Moder Dy

  • Blue markers are sites listed in Historic Environment Scotland's Canmore database

  • Purple markers are sites listed by The SCAPE Trust. 

We will be working with the Shetland Amenity Trust to add the noosts listed into the local Historic Environment Record. 

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