The story of heather whisky; illicit whisky distilling; a still lost in a voe.
According to the old stories, the Peghts [Picts] made heather whisky but wouldn't tell the recipe to the natives in Shetland. They were all killed except for a father and son; the father said that if they killed his son, he would tell them. They killed the son and the father said that they could kill him too as he would never tell them! That is how the secret of heather whisky was lost.
John Irvine was told that an entire plant for brewing [distilling] whisky had been lost in West Sandwick Voe [on Yell]. The distillers had got word of the customs searching for the plant and it was dumped in the voe but sank in the mud where it could not be found. The Bruces [the Whalsay lairds] would have made their own whisky and were certainly said to be brewing ale for their own consumption. Mr Irvine recalls a worm and a large kettle with a copper pipe lying up at the Hillhead on Whalsay but it was sent away during the First World War when copper was scarce.