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Shetland may not have the obvious appeal of , say, Skye for the ambitious walker but for any outdoor enthusiast also interested in archeology or wildlife it has great potential.

Shetland Walking
Shetland bird, otter and whale photos
General Shetland photos
Shetland wildlife and walking books and maps
General guide books

Visit Sumburgh Head for the puffins, in season, and for whale watching. (Orcas enter the bay). 
Northmavine the walk from the lighthouse on Esha Ness to the Holes of Scraada. 
Herma Ness, Unst nature reserve for the gannets, bonxies and coastal scenery. Also to view the most northerly point of the British Isles, Muckle Flugga.
Jarlshof  archaeological site (near Sumburgh), occupied for over 4000 years and excavated in the 20th century.
To see an excavation in progress also visit Old Scatness iron age village nearby.
Birdwatchers will want to visit Fetlar for the red necked phalaropes and Mousa for the petrels (night trip).
Noss has superb gannets, best seen from a boat trip. Staneydale makes a short walk to an enigmatic ruin.

Shetland Walks
The convention is that you can walk anywhere on Shetland, (avoiding crops of course). However, crossing numerous croft fences may not be your idea of fun. On recent visits we have noticed far more stiles and finger posts making walking easier for non Shetland walkers. 

Accommodation and getting there

Our preferred hotels are the Sumburgh Head hotel in the south, an efficient establishment (serving the small airport) in an old laird's house with a modern extension (adjacent to Jarlshof) used by a busy mix of naturalists, aircrew and oil workers. Busta House, near Mavis Grind, for access to Northmavine (best hotel on Shetland found so far) and on Unst we have stayed with the Edmonstons at Buness HouseThere is also a pub with accomodation nearby and the Saxavord resort, a disused military complex converted into self catering accomodation and restaurant (reports of it are favourable). The islands are linked by both roll-on ferries and internal flights from Tingwall.transporttransporttransporttransporttransporttransport

We find the best way of travelling is the overnight ferry from Aberdeen to Lerwick (do book a cabin and note you cannot return to your car during voyage).

Fuel and the oil industry
There is little fuel away from mainland. Unst has pumps at the shop in Baltasound and Yell at the south ferry terminal at Ulsta. The Yell station is the last fill up for Fetlar. 
The oil industry is based at Sullom Voe but the installation is rarely in view and does not impact on the landscape.


A Naturalists Shetland – J Laughton Johnston – Poyser
Geology, history, ecology, resident and migrant species, migration, fish and whales, seabirds, the Fair Isle, local naturalists, oil, sustainability. Places to visit, reserves, species lists and populations. Illustrated with photos, drawings, maps and tables. Highly recommended.

see also: Birds of Shetland - Ellis

Walking the coastline of Shetland  - Guy
South Mainland
Series of guides, each of about 20 walks, both point to point and circular. Illustrated with colour and b&w photos, diagrams and sketch maps. 

As the 1:25000 are double sided they only require one extra map, much better value than the 1:50000 which have the drawback of often deviding islands up in a way that leaves it unclear what connects to what when looking at a single sheet.
OS 1:50000 sheets 1-4

OS 1:25000 sheets 466-470


More books on Shetland including general guides
Shetland walking
Shetland Birds
Shetland photos