Top 5 Spots along Shetland's Coast (according to Jim Leask)

by Helen Smith -

If anyone knows the bonny spots around the Shetland coast it's Jim Leask, who along with his friend Euan did what they dubbed a "Big Trek" and walked the whole coastline of Shetland for charity (over 800 miles in total). So here goes, here's a run down of Jim's favourite spots:

1 - Sneck o' da Smaalie in Foula. The most breathtaking and probably most challenging to get to. The Sneck has a magical feel to it and as you stand at the top edge of the massive crack in the cliff and start to climb down you can't help but be slightly overwhelmed by the sheer scale of this ancient geographical feature. Jim recommends going with a local guide due to the diffiulty of the route.

2 - Da Lang Ayre, Northmavine. For Jim, this is the king of Shetland's beaches but the descent down to it is not for the faint hearted. You can choose to go up over Ronas Hill, but Jim recommends doing the coastal route, which means you can include Uyea in your adventure.

3 - From Quendale Beach, up Fitful Head, on past Noss and onto Spiggie is beautiful. Jim warns to take a walking stick for self defence if the Bonxies are nesting. If you decide to make a day of it continue on to Rerwick (another beautiful beach), on to St Ninian's and finish up in Maywick for your 6th beach in 1 day.
*You'll need a car to drop you off and pick you up for this walk.

4 - Breckon in Yell has a lovely beach. Set off from the Gloup memorial and you'll come to the ghostly settlement of West-A-Firth, then continue to Vigon and further on to the iron age cliff fort of Burgi Geos.

5 - Westerwick. Jim highly recommends taking the coastal walk from Skeld to Westerwick. The terrain is good, the scenery is stunning and it's not as time consuming as the other walks previously mentioned. If time permits, Jim also recommends stopping off at the Culswick Broch.

# Jim would like to apologise to the huge number of beauty spots that didn't make the Top 5! (He also told me I was a bit cruel limiting him to such a small number!)