Be wary walking the cliffs.
One of the wonders of Shetland is spending time walking its beautiful cliffs, watching the myriad seabirds and whale/porpoise/seal-spotting.
But be wary. Although the turf is springy and comfortable to walk upon, Shetland has an awful lot of rabbits. Their holes are not always easy to see, even on the short springy turf, and it's far too easy to trip, or to turn or break your ankle.
The short springy turf, as well as being comfortable to walk, is extremely slippery when wet or even damp. So make sure your boots/shoes have good grips...cliff turf often slopes gently towards the sea. :-(
There are blowholes along some parts of the coast too (mostly in Northmavine). Although these are large, it would be easy enough to miss the edge if you were walking with your eyes to your binoculars.
But, most of all, be wary of the wind. Walking cliffs on a windy day is a wonderfully exhilarating experience, but getting too near the edge may mean it is the last such experience you will have. This does happen; I am not exaggerating.
Don't be tempted, even on an almost-windless day, to go right to the edge. If you're desperate to see right over the cliff then lie down and approach the edge on your stomach...but make very sure first that you are not lying on an unsupported overhang!
You can minimise the risks by behaving in an appropriate manner and respecting nature...but you should not ignore it. The risks are real, as too many have found out to their cost.Related to:
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Don't underestimate the weather.
Don't think we in the UK exaggerate about its changeability. We don't. You really *can* have all 4 seasons in one day here, and especially so in Shetland.
Don't underestimate the effect of windchill. Shetland is very exposed, with little outside central Lerwick to break the wind or provide shelter. So although air temperatures may be reasonable the wind can make it feel several degrees colder...and a day without wind in Shetland is a rare day indeed.
And even if the day has been mild, temperatures will drop after the sun sets (even in the height of summer, when the sun barely sets at all).
So do pack those clothes-you-can-layer, and the warmer waterproof, and the hat/scarf/gloves. You'll be glad you did! :-)Related to:
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Book well in advance!
Shetland has very limited accommodation options and a lot of visitors in the summer months (think July and August, in the main).
If, like me, you want to visit in those months (when Scottish schools and, a bit later, English schools are on holiday) you need to book really early to get what you want in a location which suits you. I booked my mid-August accommodation in early March and even then found the first two places I tried were full for my dates.
Visiting earlier and later may not pose quite such a problem, but remember how popular Shetland is with birdwatchers..the spring months are also very busy.
It's the only place I have ever booked my accommodation before my flight, and I suggest you do so too (having first checked out flights and being ready to book them as soon as accommodation is confirmed).
Shetland is really *not* a place to visit 'on spec' in the summer months. The owner of my b&b told me of regularly turning away people in tears, or furiously angry (with each other)...and of one poor chap who had planned to cycle the islands yet could not get accommodation outside Lerwick. His plans were ruined.
So, plan ahead. Use the tourist information website to check what is available, and make your booking as soon as you've found what you want.Related to:
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The wind is REALLY strong
You may have read a few books or articles about how strong the wind is in all parts of Shetland. This is NOT an exaggeration. Always be aware of the weather forecast before you decide to go out, especially in the open.
The wind is so strong it can break chimneys, there are no trees on the island and I've seen it push an entire line of trolleys while I was stuck inside the supermarket.
My experience is, though, that if you are spotted walking on the side of the road and the weather is bad, somebody will always stop and give you a lift.
Take care on the Edge !
Foula's coastline is made up of high , steep,sheer rocky cliffs that fall into the sea.
The local people will all warn you not to go too near the edge....as the grassy upper slopes gently fall away and if it is wet you could slip over.
just exercise caution ....but enjoy this rugged coastline.Related to:
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