Fair Isle Travel Guide

  • Fair Isle
    Fair Isle
    by daarth
  • Puffins on Fair Isle
    Puffins on Fair Isle
    by tini58de
  • Fair Isle
    by daarth

Fair Isle Things to Do

  • Wool spinning on Fair Isle

    Stewart Thompson Sr, the patriarch of the Thompson family, demonstrated spinning to us. It takes a lot of skill to keep the wool at just the right tension so it spins properly and does not snap.

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  • Stewart Thompson Jr Straw Chairs

    Stewart Johnson Jr, part of the amazingly musical Thompson Family, has been making straw-backed chairs for many years. Unfortunately he has developed severe arthritis in his hands and is no longer taking orders. He has a backlog of several years. Another member of the extended clan is most likely going to take over and continue this traditional...

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  • Tiny little bits of beauty

    If you keep your eyes open you will see all sorts of beautiful little things all over Fair Isle. Here is a spider web that is covered with dew.

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  • Frog Orchid - rare plant find

    There are some very rare plants growing on Fair Isle - here is a pic of a Frog Orchid. It is very hard to see. This was found near the North Lighthouse

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  • Visit the church

    There are two churches on the island and the residents alternate from one to the other every other Sunday. One has beautiful stained glass that commemorates a deceased resident of the island.

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  • World War II German fighter remains

    There are the remains of a German fighter plane that went down in World War II, also sourtheast along the road from the Bird Observatory to the Post Office. The pilot survived and apparently visited the island to thank the residents for their care.

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  • Visit the watermill remains neat FIBO

    There is a series of old watermills (remains) that are along a creek between the Bird Observatory and the main settlement area of the island. The water moved from one mill to the next. You can still see several old milling stones that are lying about

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  • Little discoveries

    It is not always the big things, the obvious ones, but rather the hidden beauties that are more delightful than anything else!While exploring the cliffs and chasms of Fair Isle we came across this beautiful rosé colored sea urchin (?) which fascinated me a lot!This and the little joys on Fair Isle that you can even read on their website - "today we...

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  • Enjoy the cliffs

    The cliffs of Fair Isle rise up to 100 m and at some places even 200 m above sea level. If you get a chance, do try to take a boat tour around the islands, because those bird cliffs and chasms are really spectacular!We saw lots of birdlife and even a few seals, apart from a breathtaking landscape!

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  • Watch out for wildlife!

    It is not only birds that can be observed on Fair Isle, but also other wildlife.When we visited in early June, we saw a couple of seals around the island and the kids told me that there is always a good chance to see whales and orcas off Fair Isle.The bird observatory's homepage gives a very detailed account on what has been spotted recently, so...

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  • Birdwatching

    Fair Isle is best known for its variety of birds, so it is a paradise for birdwatchers! They have a bird observatory right there on the island which offers tours and very good information.I must admit that I am not that much a bird lover, but those cute puffins conquered my heart....

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  • Seize the island

    Fair Island is a rather small island with only 5 km length and 3 km width. It is easy to walk, since it is mostly flat (apart from the cliffs, of course!) It is easy walking and very enjoyable!

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Fair Isle Nightlife

  • LHOON's Profile Photo

    by LHOON Written Apr 21, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Despite its small size, the island community presents a rich social scene. A highlight is always a dance evening with live music by the island band.

    Fair Isle Dance Evening
    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism

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Fair Isle Transportation

  • Fly!!

    There is a little airstrip on Fair Isle and Loganair is flying there 3 times a week (I believe). Do have a look at the website to get the latest information on timetables and fares!

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  • Flap flap

    Most visitors fly in. They even do it for free! They do however grow their own wings.....Fair Isle is home to maybe only 70 people, but there are millions of birds!

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  • by boat

    We got to Fair Isle on our expedition ship, the Professor Mulchanov - to be more precise: we used our zodiacs to do a proper landing.There is, however, a ferry connection from Grutness Pier on the southern tip of Shetland to Fair Isle on a small ferry called the "Good Shepherd IV". The ferry runs 3 times a week, can carry 12 persons and the trip...

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Fair Isle Shopping

  • Fair Isle Brochure

    The kids from the local elementary school sold their own brochure on Fair Isle. This booklet was compiled by the Fair Isle Primary School children and Bird Observatory staff during 2002 and published in 2003.What a fantastic brochure:it has all the important information in it, starting from statistics, living on Fair Isle, information on the bird...

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  • Send a postcard to a loved one..!

    While looking around the stalls on that little exhibition I found a couple of really nice postcards. They even sold stamps, so I knew what I was going to do!The lady who sold the cards offered to post the cards later on and for sure my loved ones received them after a few days! What a great souvenir from Britains most remote inhabited island (with...

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  • Fair Isle Knitwear

    Fair Isle Knitwear is especially known for its fine patterns - so that really is something special to buy while on Fair Isle!

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Fair Isle Local Customs

  • Fair Isle Knitwear

    Whenever you travel north you will find the local knitwear all around. The same holds true for Fair Isle, except for the fact that their knitwear is much finer and has specific patterns - a true art!

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  • The lone phone booth

    Everyone who goes to Fair Isle seems to take a photo of Fair Isle's lone phone booth and almost all are taken at the same angle - here is my entry.There is also a pay phone inside the Bird Observatroy.

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  • Bird Roll Call

    Every evening at 9:30 the warden, Deryk and Assistant Warden, Rebecca, take a roll call of all the birds that were spotted that day. We had a standing joke because everyone kept spotting this one crane. We finally decided someone must have put it on some sort of tether so it could fly around in a big circle for all of us to see. Of course this all...

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Fair Isle Warnings and Dangers

  • Local 4-footers like to play

    Here is a local border collie that joined a talk we were listening to and wanted us to play with him. All of the animals we met were sweet and wanted to play - be prepared to throw sticks, etc for them if they are not at work herding the sheep.

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  • Keep your head intact

    Bonxies and Arctic Terns will dive bomb you if you get anywhere near their nests. They can hit you pretty hard and draw blood. The locals carry a walking stick or pole over their shoulder and for some reason, this deters the birds from getting too close for comfort. The image to the left shows Pat Thompson, the Fair Isle Archaeologist,...

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  • Watch out for cliff edges

    Be very careful and stay away from cliff edges. Puffins burrow along the edge of cliffs, near the top. Their burrows can go back several feet and undermine the cliff edge. It is a long and rocky way down.

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Fair Isle Tourist Traps

  • tini58de's Profile Photo

    by tini58de Updated Jun 30, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This picture shows a bird-trap, a socalled Helgoland trap. You will find quite a few of those on Fair Isle, since the Bird Observatory tries to get as much data on migrant birds as possible.

    You might notice that there are bushes inside the traps, and that is what attracts the birds (there are hardly any bushes or trees on Fair Isle...).

    Once trapped in these traps, the birds are ringed and then released.

    Helgoland trap
    Related to:
    • Birdwatching

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Fair Isle Off The Beaten Path

  • yes

    High cliffs that much of the year takes a good beating from the seas surround most of the island. On a good calm day, you can take a dinghy into one of the many caves that the sea has dug out of the cliffs. I was lucky to have good weather and experience this.

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  • Fair Isle IS off the beaten path...

    Fair Isle belongs to Shetland, and lies halfway between Orkney and Shetland. There live about 70 people on this little Island

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  • Baggage Handling on Fair Isle

    Best baggage handling I have ever seen. You just set your bags out on the road and the ferry crew picks them up on the way to the ferry. The little lambs guard it from who knows what; it was a pretty funny picture.

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Fair Isle Favorites

  • Caring for the Environment

    An island that is so small and so down to nature faces some rather worldly problems as well. I was quite amused at first when I saw the "recycling center" of Fair Isle, but thinking about it this is a very good and important measure!For more information on this aspect you might want to have a look at this interesting articleOne funny side aspect:...

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  • Wildlife

    Other than birds you might be able to see seals, orcas or other whales off Fair Isle - it is always a matter of a little luck!!!If you go, I wish you just as much luck as we had, when we spotted some seals relaxing on the rocks....

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  • Birdwatching

    Birdwatching is the number one activity on Fair Isle. There is a Bird Observatory on the island and where you go you will find people with binoculars trying to spot one of the many different birds on the island.So if you are interested in birds, this is the place for you to go!!!

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Explore Deeper into Fair Isle
Keep in touch
Favorites
Trade Fair "en miniature"
Shopping
Fair Isle
Favorites
Walk, walk, walk!
Transportation
Lighthouses on Fair Isle
Things to Do
Musical Events
Things to Do
Arctic Terns
Things to Do
Bonxies or Great Skuas
Things to Do
Bird Trap Rounds
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Fair Isle Cemetery
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Sheep everywhere and so are their droppings
Warnings and Dangers
Work Camps
Off The Beaten Path
Getting to Fair Isle
Transportation
Just walk....
Transportation
The Lighthouses
Things to Do
Sustainable Community
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The Coast
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Ward Hill
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Local Crafts
Shopping
The Birds...
Things to Do
The Islander
Transportation
The Good Shepherd
Transportation
North Haven
Favorites
In the picture you see hanging...
Local Customs
Map of Fair Isle

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