Travel To The Shetland Islands, Scotland
Britain's northernmost islands are home to wildlife of all sorts --gulls, skuas, puffins and seals crowd the shorelines, and inland domestic sheep and the diminutive Shetland ponies outnumber people. Sparsely populated though the Shetlands are, they have a long history of human occupation as the remnants of Bronze Age, Iron Age and Norse buildings testify.
Bod of Gremista
Fully restored 18th-century booth for fish curing. One room devoted to Arthur Anderson, founder and developer of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, who was born here.
One of best-preserved brochs in Scotland. Round stone tower built during Bronze Age.
Croft House Museum
Restored, thatched croft house equipped with 19th-century furniture and utensils, showing typical crofting life. Outbuildings include kiln where corn was dried. Nearby lies preserved water mill, still in use.
One of few cliff-top viewpoints in Shetland accessible by car. Fulmars and puffins nest in cliffs. Good walking country.
Fetlar Nature Reserve
This nature reserve's bird life includes Arctic skuas, storm petrels, whimbrels and snowy owls. Otters, common seals and grey seals abound. Bronze Age stone circles at Hjaltadans.
Most westerly Shetland isle with population of 45. Kame Cliff, at 1,220ft, second only to St Kilda in height. The Sneug, at 1370ft, has views of surrounding countryside. Gaada Stack has impressive natural arch. Area abundant with sheep, Shetland ponies, fulmars and razorbills.
Fishing village on attractive natural harbor. Nearby cliffs, called Villians of Hamnavoe, have views of eroded lava rocks with blowholes, arches and caves. Good walking area.
Northernmost post office in Britain can be found here. Special card and letter franking available. Island heritage centre at nearby village of Clibberswick.
Most northerly tip of Britain. Hermaness Nature Reserve is home to great skuas and gannets. Views take in offshore lighthouse on Muckle Flugga and the tiny island of Out Stack, final fragment of Great Britain.
Jewellery centre includes show-room and workshop. Visitors choose from silver, gold and enamel settings. Viking, Celtic and wildlife designs are produced at Shelland Silvercraft work-shops, in nearby Weisdale.
Remarkable archaeological site --ancient homestead for over 3000 years. Earliest remains date from Stone Age, later settlements occupied during Bronze Age and Iron Age. Stone rectangular houses remain from Viking community, spanning 200 years. Ruined 'Laird's House' dates from 17th century -- the 'Jarishof' of the novel The Pirateby Sir Walter Scott.
Town set around old but busy harbour. Some old merchants' houses have 'lodberries' -- loading piers built out over the harbour. Rides around harbour in replica Viking ship on summer evenings. Shetland Museum has displays on archaeology, folk life, textiles, shipping and seafaring -- illustrating history of Shetland. Ramparts of 17th-century Fort Charlotte give view over harbour to Bressay and Noss. In January, town celebrates Norse fire festival, Up-Helly-Aa. Replica Viking longship hauled through streets then ceremonially burned as prelude to night of revelry.
Loch of Spiggie
Whooper swans, ducks, waders, gulls, terns and skuas inhabit this reserve. Nearby lies Scousburgh Sands where visitors can picnic and swim.
Rugged, ice-moulded headland of Lunna Ness provides good walks, JARLSHOF HOMES Circular stone-walled houses replaced defensive brochs during the Iron Age.
Winner of Castle of the Year award in 1989. Most complete Iron Age broch in country. Circular tower rises 43ft above outer ram-part. View of seals from white sand beach at West Voe. Boat to island from Sandwick. Evening sea trips view storm petrels in natural habitat.
Ruins of Britain's northernmost stronghold. Castle was built by Laurence Bruce in 1598, but was abandoned within a century. Sections of original three-storey Z-plan design can still be seen. Circular tower also remains.
Nasa Nature Reserve
Sheer cliffs rise 600ft in 774 acre bird reserve, which includes gannets, gulls, skuas and waders. Sea campion, scurvy grass and rose-root thrive here, amongst 150 species of flowering plants. Interpretive display at 17th-century house. Remains of 19th-century croft houses, mausoleum and a pre-Reformation chapel. Restored pony-pund is where Shetland ponies were bred for work in Durham coalfields.
Old Has of Burravoe
Oldest building on island of Yell contains exhibition of local plants, animals, arts, crafts and history. Also has photographic collection and video and tape recordings of local musicians and storytellers. Nearby Hoose of Burravoe has sea-bird colony of puffins, guillemots, shags and fulmars, as well as common seals.
Rocky coastline reveals stacks, arches and caves, including Kirstan's Hole -- vast sea cave. Archaeological trail takes in recently discovered foundations of medieval house.
Site of restored water mill with large vertical wheel. Beach at Bay of Quendale is Shetland's largest at almost a mile long.
St Ninian's Islet
Connected to mainland only by narrow beach. Hoard of ancient Celtic treasure found beneath remains of 12th-century chapel.
Former capital of Shetlands named after Norse skali, or hall. Houses cluster around the well-preserved remains of castle -- built 1660. Local artefacts and old photographs in converted shop museum. Also on show is the story of Norwegian Resistance's 'Shetland Bus' boat shuttle to and from Norway during World War II, smuggling saboteurs and refugees out of their homeland.
Foundations of large Neolithic house surrounded by domestic remains, field boundaries and clearance cairns. Further finds at nearby Bridge of Walls
Guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and puffins breed near 1821 light-house. Grey seals share waters with dolphins and killer whales. Car park display board details breeding sea birds.
Beside harbour lies Pier House, where German merchants stored bartered goods.
Tingwall Agricultural Museum
Museum has a collection of old crofting tools. Display housed in Victorian farm buildings.
Built 1790 on site of towered Church of St Magnus, dating back to early period of Norse Chris-tianity. Old kirk's burial vault still stands in graveyard.
Remains of piers and huts at Balta sound and spoil heaps at Nikka Vord are reminders of former herring and chromite industries. Island also has restored Norse water mill, Shetland ponies and Celtic fish carving in old Kirk of Lund. Caves and islets surround Burra Firth in north a dramatic sea inlet flanked by cliffs of Saxa Vord (935ft) and the hills of Hermaness. Austere rocks of Muness Castle in south-east.
Britain's most northerly golf course lies at Skaw. Coastal walks to south and east reveal breeding seals and birds. Ruined Iron Age blockhouse stands beside Loch of Huxter. Remains of Neolithic houses lie at Isbister. Out Skerries have Bronze Age stone circle and l857 lighthouse.
Ruins of Iron Age fort at Aywick, and White Lady -- wrecked ship's figurehead at Otterewick. Shell sand beach at Wick of Breakon, near Gloup Memorial to 58 drowned men. Otters and Shetland field mice abound.
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