The remote Scottish islands of the Shetlands historically saw many inhabitants leave due to land confiscation and extreme economic hardship. For these peoples, the USA, Canada and Australia were the most usual migration destinations.
Today the Shetlands welcomes “Shetlanders” from around the world back to their home islands. They call this “hamefarin”, an old Norse word meaning homecoming.
Walking the remote, starkly beautiful northernmost island of Unst, one can sense a feeling of abandonment, the enforced migration of the people who worked the crofts long gone, and the many who left for new lands and the prospects of a less harsh life.
You will often see small groups and individuals walking and exploring the churchyards, abandoned crofts and homesteads throughout the small dotted islands that make up the Shetlands.
As you see these people you can almost feel and sense their personal need to “connect” with their history and their past.