Shetland Beach Wins Swimming Accolade

by Alastair Hamilton -

One of Shetland's favourite beaches has been named by Travel magazine as a great place to swim, sharing the honour with beaches in much warmer parts of the world.

St Ninian's ayre is a wide band of sand that connects St Ninian's Isle to the Shetland mainland. It's a particularly fine example of a tombolo and its setting is magnificent. The beach is a popular destination for locals and visitors, although it has to be admitted that the water is somewhat colder than that at some of the other beaches in the survey, which included places in Australia, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. In fact, no other beach in Scotland made the top 50.

The magazine described St Ninian's as "spectacular" and observed that "if this beach was anywhere else in Europe, prefab hotels and deckchair hawkers would have ruined it long ago".

St Ninian's Isle was already famous for another reason: a hoard of Pictish silver treasure, presumed to have been hidden by priests from marauding Vikings, was discovered in the ruined chapel in1958.