|I can't speak for the Western Isles (Mull and Skye excepted), as my only attempt to get there by sea a few years back was stymied by lousy weather. But Shetland and, to a slightly lesser extent, Orkney, are in my heart. In fact, a year without a Shetland trip is an empty year as far as I'm concerned, and I'm just about to make my 15th visit there. Once experienced, I was addicted.|
Everything you've said about Shetland - the scenery, the roads, the nature, the antiquities - is spot on. To it, I'd add the best fish'n'chips in Britain (especially from Ian's chippy on the harbour front, but beware the thieving gulls should you choose to scoff them on the jetty!), my favourite hot curry ever at the Raba on Commercial Street (so hot they counsel you when you order - Adam Richman wannabes beware), and the fabulous fiddle nights at the Marlex on Tuesdays and (especially) the Lounge on Wednesdays, at which I have spied the odd celebrity from time to time (Marc Riley, Guy Garvey - I shit thee not). It's not a haven for ale lovers, though you will get a good pint of the impressive local brew (Valhalla Auld Rock or White Wife) at the Spiggie Hotel near Sumburgh. Otherwise it's bottled versions of the same stuff in Lerwick, and the ubiquitous Tennants and Belhaven Best. And don't miss the Westings in Whiteness for the best view from a pub window in Britain.
There's tons on fab walks on the Mainland: Eshaness, Ronas Hill and Fethaland in the north, Sandness and Walls in the west, and St Ninian's Isle, Fitful Head and Sumburgh Head in the south, to suggest just a few. Better still is a walk to the top of Britain at Hermaness in Unst, the coastline of Yell, and the beautiful fertile island of Fetlar, where you might spot a red necked phalarope if you're really lucky. If you're well heeled a return day flight to Foula or Fair Isle is beyond words, especially for twitchers. And savour the magnificent fauna while you're there.
Try a boat trip around Bressay and Noss for seabird and seal thrills. Or even a full day trip around Muckle Flugga and Out Stack, the furthest north you can get.
My fave antiquities are the magnificent Bordastubble standing stone on Unst and the chambered cairn at the top of Ronas Hill, the highest point in Shetland. Jarlshof and Old Scatness in the far south of the Mainland are also not to be missed.
Best of all are the endless summer evenings, locally known as the simmer dim. At this time of year it never gets truly dark; just a gorgeous red horizon for about four hours - wonderful.
Not that it's not worth visiting at other times of the year, mind. Especially around Up Helly Aa!
Orkney is not as spectacular from a scenery perspective, but wins hands down for the standing stones, stone circles and burial sites, the best for me being the Dwarfie Stane on Hoy - refer to the Drude's MA bible for further reading. And i must mention more recent historical sites like St Magnus Cathedral, the Italian Chapel and the Churchill Barriers (with wrecks still peeping out of the waters). Better ale too, especially in Kirkwall and Stromness.
You ain't lived until you've experienced the northern isles!
Reply | with quote
|Posted by Fitter Stoke|
20th June 2012ce
Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland - my view (CARL, Jun 20, 2012, 14:08)
- Re: Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland - my view (goffik, Jun 20, 2012, 14:19)
- Re: Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland - my view (CARL, Jun 20, 2012, 17:00)
- Re: Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland - my view (GLADMAN, Jun 20, 2012, 21:10)
- Re: Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland - my view (Mustard, Jun 26, 2012, 13:11)
- Re: Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland - my view (Fitter Stoke, Jun 20, 2012, 16:12)
- Re: Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland - my view (tjj, Jun 20, 2012, 19:40)
- Re: Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland - my view (SCATHAN, Jun 29, 2012, 18:33)
- Re: Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland - my view (CARL, Jul 02, 2012, 07:07)
- Re: Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland - my view (wideford, Jul 02, 2012, 08:45)
- Re: Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland - my view (juamei, Jul 02, 2012, 12:22)
- Re: Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland - my view (SCATHAN, Jul 14, 2012, 10:21)