August 2010 Visit Shetland Newsletter
Welcome to the Visit.Shetland.org newsletter for August 2010, which we hope will inspire you to come up and visit us.
Do you believe in magic?! Be prepared for the island of Foula to cast its spell upon all those who visit one of the most isolated communities in Europe. Located some 20 miles off the west coast of the mainland, you will view, as you approach by boat, some of the highest sea cliffs in Britain. If travel by sea isn't to your liking – take a 15-minute flight and enjoy spectacular aerial views. And what to do on your arrival? This is an island escape–get back to nature, walk, cloud gaze, breathe fresh air...Take off your watch, because once you reach this captivating island – you'll experience Foula time!
Or why not visit the small island of Mousa, and the best preserved Broch in the world. This Iron Age fortification, built over 2000 years ago, towers above the other 100+ Brochs found across Shetland. Brochs may have been used to protect the islands from fearsome foes, however, nowadays Shetland welcomes all travellers to cross Mousa Sound, by ferry. During your visit, you may spot Grey and Common Seals, Harbour Porpoise, Arctic Terns, Bonxies (Great Skuas), Black Guillemots, and if you're a night owl – Storm Petrels! You'll have plenty of time to do an easy circular coastal and moorland walk around the RSPB reserve. Make sure to pack some snacks and make a day of it!
Another island worth a visit is Unst, Britain's most northerly island, and home to Hermaness – a National Nature Reserve. Another fabulous circular walk, across a tapestry of wild flowers, will bring you to the sights and raucous sounds of, amongst others - diving Gannets and gliding Fulmars. The sheer cliffs of Hermaness are home to more than a 100,000 breeding sea birds. A dizzying display of birdlife acrobatics, over a swirling ocean, makes for an unforgettable experience. This walk can take about 3 hours, or longer - should you decide to take it easy. Whatever your plans are, when you visit Shetland, we can promise a slower pace of life and breathtaking scenery.
Why not stop for a cup of tea and a home bake (or two), followed by an art exhibition and retail therapy? Weisdale Mill, dating from 1855, offers everything under one roof. Enjoy a sugary delight in the south-facing conservatory, and make sure you keep an eye out for curious otters around Kergord Burn! Visit the Bonhoga Gallery - home to ever-changing art and craft exhibitions. Treat yourself to something special in the fabulously whimsical shop. A wonderful location and outstanding visitor attraction – guaranteed to feed both appetite and soul.
Get your history head on and take a visit to Old Scatness! This Iron Age Broch and village were discovered in 1975, when the airport was expanded. Excavation started in 1995. You will be greeted by knowledgeable guides who will take you on a comprehensive tour. The living history team carry out demonstrations of daily life 2000 years ago. Craftspeople will recreate ancient skills. Old Scatness is one of Shetland's most important archaeological sites and makes for a thrilling and authentic experience for all ages. A definite must-do on your Shetland itinerary.
Another must-do – having fun! September is festival crazy! The annual book festival – Wordplay (4th and 5th September) offers writing workshops, readings and book signings with writers of local, national and international renown. From 2nd -5th September, Shetland's annual film festival – Screenplay serves up a smorgasbord of film screenings, lectures and panel discussions. You may need your glasses for literary and cinematic events, but don't forget your dancing shoes too! The 7th Shetland Blues Festival is held from 3rd-5th September. Visiting and local artists, six of whom are nominees for the British Blues Awards, are playing gigs across the island. The "Peerie Willie" Guitar Festival (17th-20th September) is named after the late Willie Johnson, one of Shetland's best loved, not to mention internationally acclaimed musicians. Workshops and concerts, with some of the world's leading exponents of the instrument, is a highlight on Shetland's musical calendar.
See you soon!
We would welcome any comments you have about this newsletter, or about the www.SHETLAND.org site.
Also, if you have any enquiries at all about Shetland we would be more than happy to assist you. Please contact us using any of the methods listed on our contact page.
Thank you again for taking the time to read this newsletter and please feel free to forward it to anyone else who may be interested in Shetland.
The team at www.SHETLAND.org