“After travelling to mainland Shetland last year, I had become fascinated with these beguiling islands and their people.
This time I decided to fly up, as the 14-hour ferry journey from Aberdeen is a touch too long for my sea legs. I landed at Sumburgh on Saturday and stayed, for my first night, at Levenwick on the South mainland. I stayed at Shalders B&B, Anne and Roy were splendid hosts and could not do enough to make my stay as comfortable as possible. Late Saturday afternoon, Anne gave me a lift (as I don’t drive) to St Ninians Isle, where I took some photos of the magnificent tombolo.
On Sunday, I travelled up to Lerwick to stay at the Fort Charlotte Guest House. I quickly located the Tourist information office and scanned what information they had on tours for the following week. GeoTours had a tour on Tuesday that explored Northmavine, so I booked this tour and then I had a good look around Lerwick followed by a hearty dinner at Osla’s Cafe.
The rain never ceased on Monday, so I took a bus ride to Walls on the west coast of Shetland. The bus journey took in some of the West mainland that I had not been to before, such as Weisdale and Bixter. When I arrived at Walls, I had a quiet wander around, took a few pictures and returned back to Lerwick.
On the Tuesday, I had arranged a tour of Northmavine with GeoTours. Allen Fraser was our guide for the tour and he was able to make the Shetland landscape come to life with his interesting stories. Allen took us to Eshaness (fabulous views)and Tangwick Haa museum (the best museum I went to). We also went to Ronas Voe (the only fjord in Shetland) and on the way back we strayed down the west side and went through Bixter and Aith and through to Weisdale. All in all an excellent day’s sightseeing….
How do I get to mainland Shetland? Loganair (part of the Flybe group) fly from Aberdeen, Belfast, Benbecula, Birmingham, Campbeltown, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Guernsey, Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey, Leeds/Bradford, Kirkwall, London (Gatwick), Manchester, Manston (Kent), Newquay, Norwich, Southampton and Stornoway to Sumburgh airport on the southern tip of mainland Shetland. Most flights are via Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen or Inverness. Or, you could travel by Northlink ferry from the ferry terminal in Aberdeen.
How do I get around mainland Shetland? Inter-island ferries run between all the islands and there are inter-island flights through Direct Flight. The flights depart from Tingwall airport except the Fair Isle flight which departs from Sumburgh. The bus services are excellent and most buses depart from the main Bus Terminal in Lerwick. You can also hire a car from Star Car Rental or from Bolts Car Hire. Finally, for a taste of the open road on mainland Shetland, why not hire a VW Camper Van for the day or for the week.
What’s worth visiting on mainland Shetland? Lots! Firstly, the archaeological sites at Jarlshof and at Scatness both on the southern end of mainland Shetland. On the west coast of North Mavine are the spectacular cliffs at Eshaness. Near Eshaness is the Tangwick Haa Museum and the Dore Holm islet which has an amazing natural arch. In the central part of mainland Shetland are the two main settlements of Scalloway and Lerwick. Scalloway Castle was built around 1600 and is located in the heart of Scalloway, which is a very picturesque coastal town. Lerwick is the main settlement on mainland Shetland. In Lerwick, you can visit Fort Charlotte, an 18th century Fort, strategically built to deter any would be raiders. Also, just outside Lerwick is Clickimin Broch, one of the best preserved Brochs in Shetland.
Where can I stay on mainland Shetland? There are several hotels in Lerwick including Kveldsro House, Shetland Hotel and the Lerwick Hotel. Shetland Hotels are available to book through Holidays Combined. There are many Guest Houses and B & B’s including Breview, Fort Charlotte, Alder Lodge etc. In Levenwick, Shalders is an excellent B & B and further north is Busta House Hotel. Shetland is rightly famous for it’s Camping Bods, which are available at Betty Mouats (near the airport), Nebister Bod (Whiteness), Skeld Bod (Skeld), Voe House (Walls), the Sail Loft (Voe) and Johnnie Notions (near Eshaness).
Any other information on mainland Shetland? There is an old adage that states, “The further north you go, the nicer the people are”, well … you can’t go any further north than Shetland – need I say anymore? For more information on mainland Shetland please read my Shetland Diary.