Cashless in Shetland – Day 6

Spent the day on the island of Fetlar – an island that has an interesting cashless and money remittance past.

During the 18th and 19th Centuries the laird’s of Fetlar we’re making a good part of their income from deep sea fishing – exporting salted, dried fish.

The laird’s tenants were bound to fish for him in the summer months in return for tenure of their croft. The laird set the price for the fish caught which meant the fisherman had no control over the size of their income.

This system was known as Truck.

The Crofters Act of 1886 and fishermen earning larger incomes by whaling off of Greenland and sending money back home started to break the control that the laird’s held over the tenants under the Truck system.

Until the infamous Clearances…….

So, for better or worse, Fetlar was largely cashless in the 18th and 19th Centuries and in the 19th Century led the way in money remittances by sending money back home.

Today, Fetlar is cash only on the ferry from Gutcher to Hamars Ness and cashless at the shop in Houbie.

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