After arriving quite early (07:30) in Lerwick we were heading to our pre-booked campsite (Shetland is very strict with Covid-precautions and things are nicely organized). From there our first hike took us just over some fences down towards open cliffs and a stunning landscape.
Especially the dry walls (only stones, no mortar) with the gaps so the wind can pass through without resistance were very nice.
Due to the quite wet climate moss is everywhere…
Our next trip was another hike next to „Jarlshof“ (a medievial farm and prehistoric / neolothic site as well) up the cliffs to another lighthouse built by the Stephensons (a family of lighthouse builders with the one exception for the one sun, who became famous for writing „Treasure Island“)
The old fog-horns are no longer used, but quite impressive
Next came St. Ninian’s Isle – interestingly St. Ninian never was there, just a church in his name… Yet the beach is so lovely to see
We were highly tempted to swim as the water was quite warm (for Shetland…), yet the many jellyfish (especially Lion’s mane which is very hurtful) distracted us from that.
Our next stop was more north-westerly wards on the main island with stunning views over the bay and some rock stacks
The entire bay was just breathtaking
Here are some more „long-focal length“ images
As Shetland is far wilder and less populated then Orkney (just 23,000 people in total for 3 main islands) there are many empty and abandoned places and hiking is possible almost everywhere.
We ventured from the westernmost point a bit along the cliffs:
The next walk was on Unst, the northernmost main island, – connected to the main island via the island of Unst and two ferries.
Here there only 700 people and the land is wide and open with excessively friendly people (like anywhere in Shetland – everybody is open-minded, friendly and helpful)!
At the end of the walk in the bay we were in awe about the beauty of the seals lying around and basking in the evening sun
Our campsite (for 2 nights in total) was busy the first night (all 5 slots taken), but afterwards just us – pure bliss, peace and no midges…
The view is to the right (and pretty much the same to the left)
The next morning it was hazy, wet and quite cool so we decided to have an excursion towards Hermaness – a famous nature reserve with millions of birds.
As I wrote – millions of birds… The smell was quite strong (just imagine all the guano being produced)
Yet the final views – as another cloud came in with some drizzle – were just amazing
The heather was in full bloom so we could delight on that as well
The next hike along the coast was quite different – much flatter in the beginning, then rising a but, but very nice views, indeed
Especially interesting as always are the old abandoned houses, sheds, etc. This time the local thistle took advantage
Due to the very weather all year round even the headstones in the graveyard gather wonderful moss
For many Shetland might be too wet, too windy, too cold – yet we loved it! Not only will you find the nicest people there, but the nature is amazing, the food (we cooked ourselves – so bought local Shetland lamb and beef from a farmer who does native Shetland breeds) very good and the landscape just stunning.
It might be a bit rough at times, but in general this is the kind of place we like. We will be back (not right now, but some time, not too far in the future)