Baltasound - Hermaness

This relatively short route links north to another of Shetland’s must visit sites - the National Nature Reserve at Hermaness.

Distance: 21km / 13 miles  (Circular route)

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The road over to Haroldswick cuts through the rocky hillside with views over Harold’s Wick. Greeting visitors on their arrival to Haroldswick is the Skidbladner, a scale replica of the 9th Century Gokstad ship unearthed in Norway. The Skidbladner was built by a team from Sweden in an attempt to undertake a crossing of the North Atlantic. After some problems the ship came to rest in Shetland, where it now forms part of The Viking Unst Project.

The Scottish National Heritage Visitor Centre based in the former lighthouse shore station at Burrafirth, provides a great opportunity for those who are unable to make the walk to the cliffs to learn about the seabirds of Hermaness. The world-famous reserve covers the Muckle Flugga rocks and Out Stack as well as the seabird cliffs and moorland of Hermaness. It is home to over 100,000 seabirds in the breeding season. From the reserve, there are wonderful views of Muckle Flugga and the ocean.

If you are planning to explore the reserve further on foot, this walking route around Hermaness will link with your ride. However, you don’t need to leave the bike behind to enjoy great views. There is a superb view of Burrafirth Beach leaving the car parking area at Hermaness.

On the return journey, the route makes a minor diversion through the village of Haroldswick. The Boat Haven, which celebrates the central role the sea has played in the lives of islanders, displays a wide variety of boats gathered from all over the islands. Nearby the displays of the Unst Heritage Centre feature geology, genealogy, traditional local crofting and the island’s famous fine lace.

There is an opportunity to extend your day ride by linking this route up to the Norwick & Skaw route.

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