If Orkney is full of historical mysteries, then surely Shetland is the place for the drama. “Nature” wrote one visitor, “appears in her wildest dress” in these, Britain’s most northerly islands, and it is indeed the wildness and grandeur of the Shetland landscapes and seascapes which inevitably become the visitors most enduring memory.
There are more than 100 islands here, each forged by the roaring surging waves of the North Atlantic. Everywhere one goes, there are dramatic cliffs, perfect deserted contemplative beaches, huge vistas across awe-inspiring voes and inlets, and above, the evocative cry of seabirds. Sunrises and sunsets in Shetland are spectacular.
Up Helly Aa is the biggest of the fire festivals that take place in the winter months in Shetland. This Viking themed fire festival takes place in Lerwick on the last Tuesday of January. The day involves a series of marches and visitations and in the evening is the most famous part – the torch-lit procession and Galley burning. Find out more about the Shetland Fire Festival and view the webcast of 2020's event here!
There's lots on in Shetland during January 2020 including fascinating talks, superb music, Scalloway Fire Festival and Lerwick Up Helly Aa. Read our what's on guide so that you don't miss a thing!
For those interested in finding their Shetland ancestors, then the Shetland Family History Society hold a wealth of information about Shetland family names from the past. NorthLink spoke to Susan Cooper, the Chair of the organisation, who offered some advice for researching your own genealogy.
One of the most striking aspects of Shetland is the dramatic landscape; the amazing geology of the islands has earned it the status of a UNESCO Global Geopark. NorthLink Ferries spoke to Rory Tallack, who works for Shetland Amenity Trust as the Geopark Manager.
If you're visiting Shetland then why not take a look at our comprehensive guide to the islands to help you plan your trip? You'll find useful info, fascinating facts and some helpful tips!
Shetland's yearly events start with the fire festivals which mark the end of the long winter nights. Shetland Folk Festival and Fiddle Frenzy are a celebration of Shetland's outstanding musical heritage. Screenplay, Shetland's film festival, brings film stars to the islands, Shetland Wool Week showcases Shetland's sheep and textile industry and the Simmer Dim Motorcycle Rally is a celebration of the long summer nights. It's easy to see why this fantastic range of festivals draw people back to Shetland again and again!
One of the jewels in Shetland’s crown is the Old Haa Museum in Yell. Visiting this historic building is like stepping back in time, and you can easily spend a few hours browsing the local artefacts, which paint a vivid picture of life in Shetland in the past. NorthLink Ferries spoke to Rena Nisbet, Chair of the Old Haa Trust to find out more.
Shetland Jewellery create beautiful and unique jewellery in their workshop in Weisdale. NorthLink Ferries had a lovely time chatting to workshop manager Sophie Whitehead who told us more about what inspires the talented team who work there.
Muckle Flugga Lighthouse is Britain’s most northerly lighthouse which stands precariously on a series of sharp rocks jutting out of the sea off the coast of Unst, Shetland. The lighthouse was built in 1854, and was manned by three keepers. Read on for a history of Muckle Flugga Lighthouse and an insight into the tough lives of the men who kept the light shining!
The Out Skerries are the most easterly islands of Shetland and are located approximately 24 miles from Shetland’s capital, Lerwick. They are made up of three small islands (Bruray, Housay and Grunay) and several skerries. Out Skerries is known for its rugged scenery, incredible cliff views and wildlife. It is also famous for the shipwrecks dotted around its coastline and for sightings of rare birds.
The Shetland Fudge Company is a premium bespoke chocolate company with a huge range of confectionery including fudge, truffles, tablet, Puffin Poo, preserves and gourmet mallow which has been made entirely by hand. From having 3 employees and one ‘peerie’ kitchen when they started this venture, they now have two premises within Lerwick town centre and employ 13 staff members. We caught up with Nicola and Magnus to find out more about the business!