The cliffside cemetery
Wandering cemeteries and graveyards is always a good way of learning a little of a settlement's past history. Lerwick's old cemetery, set into the cliffs above the Knab, has stunning views over the Bressay Sound.
Walking this cemetery in the strong early-morning sunshine I was moved by the many memorials to 'men o' da sea'...much loved fathers, sons and brothers who had passed too soon.
Down by the wall nearest to the sea you'll find the war graves of soldiers who fought and died in Shetland during the Second World War. Some are so very far from home ...airmen from Canada and Australia...and some were never identified.
In the same area you will find a memorial and the gravestones of the many Dutch seamen who were buried there between 1875 and 1927.
It's worth taking the time to explore the cemetery, perhaps as part of your walk around the Knab. Access is from Knab Road.
- Historical Travel
The Town Hall
Lerwick Town Hall is a magnificent example of Victorian pomp and grandeur.
Set at the crest of the hill behind Lerwick harbour (the highest point in the town) and facing the 'new' part of Lerwick which was created during the Victorian era, the Town Hall has turrets and Gothic twiddles galore, with dolphins curling around its lamp-posts and wonderful stained glass windows depicting Shetland characters.
It was completed in 1884, during the herring 'boom' which brought so much wealth to the area.
I didn't manage to visit the interior on this visit but it is open to the public from Monday - Friday, 0900-1700.
You'll find it on Upper Hillhead. Hillhead (the road) divides into two one-way sections after it leaves Scalloway Road.
- Historical Travel
A wild, desolate and beautiful place about 100km north of Lerwick. In 1993 it became the most northerly place on the planet that I'd set foot, and so it remains.
Watch the thousands of seabirds, see the waves crashing on the spectacular cliffs, contemplate the wild ocean that is all that now stands between the United Kingdom and the Arctic. And brace yourself against those wild winds!
Two months after my visit, a horse called Esha Ness was running in the Grand National - great odds too, so thinking this was a good punt, I backed it. Esha Ness crossed the line first...
... alas, all was in vain. After a false start the horses got too far ahead to be recalled, the race was abandoned, and all bets were void.
There are two important birdwatching sites within the town.
The harbour is a gathering place for gulls and other seabirds, including frequent rarities blown off course.
Clickimin Loch attracts waterbirds, and remains the only place I have ever seen the elusive smew (though the smew is said to be a London speciality!)
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