9th – 15th July
Shetland was the smallest island ever to host the games, and finding accommodation for the 2,300 visitors provided the organisers with a major headache. In the end two cruise liners were berthed in Lerwick as floating hotels.
The opening ceremony was held at the Clickimin Centre.
With the rain pouring down and plastic macs the order of the day, Mrs Sandra Jamieson raised an ironic cheer when she welcomed the visitors to ‘sunny’ Shetland. Although the weather meant some of the planned entertainment having to be postponed until later in the week, the rain failed to put a damper on the occasion and the opening ceremony continued with the traditional mingling of the water which surrounds the different islands. The large water feature which was the main focus of the opening ceremony had been modelled on the shape of Shetland.
Orkney sent it’s biggest ever team up on the specially chartered ferry and they were rewarded with their best ever medal haul since 1999 in the Faroe Islands.
Leading the way was Helen Cromarty who sealed her gold medal in the Hammer with a throw of 11.76 – almost a metre ahead of her nearest rival. Joanna Walker was the other gold medallist – winning the half marathon in a time of 1.25.31 – over two minutes ahead of the rest of the field. The athletics track provided three more medals – Neil Gray with a silver in the 400 metres – just missing the gold by 0.2 of a second, and David Miller won bronze in the 800 metres – in a time of 1.58.84. That was the same time as the silver medallist.
The women’s 4×400 relay team also took a bronze in a time of 4.03.98. They were Aly Bain, Bryony Muir, Jordan Fogarty and Mags Macrae. They originally finished 4th but were promoted when the Isle of Man team were disqualified.
The archers had their best games to date. Jim Middlemas won silver in the means FITA Recurve with a score of 1021. He then shared in the team silver medal along with Anabel Eltome, Ian and Alan Brough and David Kennedy. Their score of 2820 was just one pint ahead of the close rivals Shetland. Then the recurve team also took a bronze in the head to head beating Jersey in the play off.
The English Sporting Shoot team of Derek Firth, Victor Smith and Rab Wilson also took a bronze medal home with them. They shot a score of 147 – only three of the gold medal total. The final medal was the first ever in table tennis. Catherine Symons won bronze after losing to the eventual winner in the semi finals.
Perhaps the best atmosphere was in the volleyball area where success was hard to come by – but the Orkney womens team showed that they could stir up huge emotion among their support
In total Orkney headed home with 2 gold – 3 silver and 5 bronze medals, making the ferry trip home a very satisfying one. Next stop was Rhodes – where the rain and mist was to be replaced by relentless heat.