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Scotland’s Sacred Islands with Ben Fogle: Shetland (Series Final BBC Scotland Tues 26 Oct 2021)

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In this final episode Ben journeys to six unique islands across the Shetland Isles.

On the beautiful and uninhabited St Ninian’s Isle, Ben considers those in the distant past who sought out remote spots for quiet contemplation.

He visits the Isle of Oxna with Laurie and Arnold Goodlad, a father and daughter whose ancestors once lived there.

Andy and Sabina Holt moved from a hippy lifestyle 48 years ago to live on the island of Papa Stour. Sabina then had what she calls a “marvellous encounter with Jesus” and they have been living as committed Christians ever since. Ben reveals the effect living somewhere as remote and beautiful as Papa Stour has on their faith.

He then meets crofter Vic Thomas who shares his belief in the life cycles of birth, growth and death and their spiritual meaning in a place where mother nature is so much in evidence. To Ben’s delight, Vic also showcases the eccentric model railway village he’s built on his croft.

On the mainland, Ben catches up with Shetland chef Akshay Borges, a champion of the island’s ‘sea harvest’. Akshay arrived from Goa 10 years ago – a life-changing decision he made on the flip of a coin.

Travelling to the Isle of Yell, Ben visits a chicken shed converted into one of the UK’s smallest Chapels. Its ‘keeper’, Anne Dobbing, explains that Shetland’s many Christian denominations seem to blend into one, as if the remote wildness forges a common spiritualism.

Finally, on Unst – the UK’s most northerly inhabited Isle – Ben meets Orthodox Nun, Mother Mary who lives a solitary life of prayer and contemplation in this very remote place.

Scotland’s Sacred Islands With Ben Fogle debuts on the BBC Scotland channel on Tuesday 5 October, followed by BBC One on Sunday 10 October. The four-part series is a Tern TV production.

Airdate: Tuesday 26 October 2021 at 8.00pm on BBC Scotland.

Season 1 Episode 4