St Ninian's Isle
This is a great spot to stop and sample the unique beach causeway that links the isle to the main land. It's a beautiful spot and worth a visit on your way to other places. There are the ruins of a church on the isle where some Pictish silver was discovered in the 1950s.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- National/State Park
This is one of the highlights of Shetland. Mousa is a tiny island (about a mile long and 3/4 long). The main draw is its iron age broch. First things first: phone to check the ferry is running - we did every day and some days the water was too choppy so it wasn't. There are only two sailings most days in the summer and it would be a shame to miss it.
Be careful when climbing the broch (I banged my head!). Once you've seen it head towards the pools to the north of the island to see the seals and birds. Take a packed lunch as the island is only inhabited by mainly by sheep (who have no plans to open a cafè :) And watch where you tread...
Just walking round the island, admiring the broch and wildlife was great. Don't forget waterproofs and I would also advise plenty of camera battery (mine went so had to borrow my mate's camera).
Don't miss it.Related to:
Iit very easily accessible on foot from the Lerwick center. It's beautifully situated on the edge of the Loch. I found this broch very interesting and being in Lerwick don't miss it. The access is free.
It was inhabited frm 100 BC to AD 500. It was restored in the 1850s.
Isle of Noss
Noss National Nature Reserve is a very beautiful place. I think it's a must see place. If you want to visit the place take the whole day. Walk around the island and watch birds and enjoy the spectacular and breathtaking views.
For more information about the Noss island visit the website.
If you want to see only puffins go to Sumburgh Head. I saw only few here flying to and from the cliffs.Related to:
Fitful Head - a non-touristic place
Start your trip in Quendale. There is a nice track leading up to the hill. I think it takes about 1,5 hours to get to the radar dome (283 m). I would recommend this track because I took another path going form the Bay of Quendale through the Garths Ness and I had to climbe many fences. It's not so easy and could be very adventuroues. If you reach the radar dome take a path along the fence and after 20 / 30 minutes you enter the kingdom of scuas having their babies hidden in the grass.
Don't try to get closer to them because they will attack you. Walk along the cliffs and watch the birds nesting in the cliffs. You can walk down to the Qeundale climbing hences or go back and take the path towards the North to Noss and Spiggie and Scousburgh through Windy Stacks.
I had to interrupt my plans because of heavy mist over the Fitful Head and it is very dangerous to walk in the mist. It could be slippery and the cliffs are high.
Take food and water. You will be in non-touristic place.
I would recommend this trip only to people who like pure nature and like to be in non-touristic. places.Related to:
Jarlshof - an archeological site
Going to Sumburgh Head plan a visit to Jarlshof. It is quite interesting but don't expect too much and don't try to compare with Greek or Roman archaeological sites. There is an interpretive centre where you can learn everything about the site spanning 3000 years of settlement and you can learn how to play an anciant game called "Tafle". Visiting the site you can have a close look at prehistoric dwellings, a broch and an Norse village. By the way, the broch in the suburbs of Lerwick is more impressive and I found it more interesting than that one in Jarlshof. It takes about 1 hour to visit the site.
The entrance costs 4.5 pounds.Related to:
- Historical Travel
A nice walk from Sumburgh Hotel to Sumburgh Head
It's a very easy and beautiful route. If you travel by public transport you have to start the walk at the Sumburgh hotel. There is a regular bus line connecting Lerwick with the Sumburgh Hotel. The bus operate several times a day connecting the airport with the Shetland capital LERWICK.
The ticket costs 2.20 Pounds one way. Get off at the hotel. First visit the famous ruins dating from Neolithic times in Jarlshof - very close to the hotel (next tip).
From the hotel take the road to a farmhouse. Pass the farml and follow the road down and up to the main road. From the hotel and the museum you will see Sumburgh Head with the lighhouse. I think it's impossible to get lost. Just follow the road. It takes about 1 hour to get to the lighthouse. On the way to the lighthouse you can meet oyster catchers - very shy birds.
On the way to the lighthouse walk down to the cliffs. You can have a very close look at the nesting petrels.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Excellent place for puffin-watching
The puffin-watching can be a really excellent teraphy for your bad mood. Go to Sumburgh Head - a place where you can be very close to the funny birds. Take a lot of time because you won't be able to stop looking at them. They are really very close and I was talled that it was the best place to watch them in Shetland.
If you have not a lot of time and you would like to see them, plan the trip to Sumburgh Head. But they are there only during the breeding season so far as I know.
If you plan to visit the puffin colony visit this website.
How to get to Sumburgh Head read my next tip.Related to:
Most southerly point
Sumburgh Head, the most southerly point of Shetland has stunning views of water and cliff faces and is only a few minutes from Sumburgh Airport. It is well worth a visit and is just past the Jarlshoff stone age tourist attraction
Prehistoric Ruins Revealed
Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse settlement is a fascinating place. You can see Bronze Age round houses, an Iron Age broch, wheelhouses, Viking houses, a medieval farm and a 16th century house all in the one place. It's an awesome experience to see all these things. The visitor's centre shows the development of the site over time. You can do a self guided audio tour that takes about a hour to walk through the whole site.
One of the rare and most exciting things about Jarlshof is that you are allowed to walk right in amongst the ruins and poke about in them yourself. The only thing is that you cannot walk on top of the walls.
The audio guide is included in the price:
Open summer only
Due to a misunderstanding of a tip that I saw on the VT site, I thought that the houses were actually underground. They are partially underground, but they are covered with earth and grass to protect them above. Because of this, I asked the woman in charge if this was the place where you could 'go down into the holes'. She thought I was talking about something else and I consequently found about the underground chambers or 'souterrains' that are usually covered with padlocked trapdoors. She offered me a torch and a key to the locks and I thought "What the heck!" and went to explore.
Souterrains are ancient storage chambers. They are PITCH BLACK, TINY and FILTHY so if you don't like dark places or small spaces, don't go in. I am quite slim and I practically had to roll myself into a ball to squat-and-shuffle along these passages. I filmed my journeys (there are 2 souterrains) with my digital camera and the videos are dark and full of my comments such as "Gee it's dark down here" "What was that? Oh, nothing" "I would really like to get out of here now" "Oh, crap, I'm stuck" and generally littered with expletives as I slipped and slid along the way. All in all, it was not the most interesting place (the souterrains) but an exciting thing to do.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Play 'chicken' with an aeroplane
One of the most astounding things about Shetland is the fact that Sumburgh Airport shares its runway with cars! The main road in Shetland actually crosses the runway at the point where the planes take off/land. There are gates to stop people from driving across the path of the aircraft though, so there's no need to look to the skies as you drive along! It certainly was a sight to see!
Visiting Lerwick - the new capital, is a must. Visit the harbour and watch the seals playing about, the sailing boats in the harbour, the castle and the viking broch. Lerwick is a small place (very small) offering an unforgettable experience.
Information offices offer leaflets for things to visit while in shetland. They prooved to be very useful. Sheltand isles boast of some very nice scenery and secluded beaches where one can relax and enjoy the surroundings. However make sure that you close all gates!!!!Related to:
- Adventure Travel
Peat Cutting in Shetland
Some people in Shetland still heat their homes with peat. There are vast peat cutting areas where families have individual plots and cut peat using traditional methods. The photos here show peat stacked outside the Shetlands Crofthouse Museum plus several that show the peat cutting areas as well as the initial drying of peat bricks and their stacking for final drying before transport.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Visit abandoned churches and graveyards
There are abandoned settlements throughout Shetland. Many of these are due to the Clearances that also had a major impact on Orkney and the Highlands. They are dotted across the landscape. Many people have moved into newer homes and have left the old croft houses to fall into disrepair.Related to:
- Historical Travel
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