Lerwick - Vidlin

Leaving Lerwick from the north, passing the Northlink Ferry terminal, this route follows the eastern section of National Cycle Route Route 1 all the way to Laxo, with a further 3 mile (5km) spur to reach Vidlin.

Distance: 38km / 23.6 miles  (Linear route)

Download Route: • KML File • GPX File

The A970 north road out of Lerwick can be extemely busy in the morning and evening rush hour periods with commuter trafic mixed with HGVs and service busses. There is a long steep hill from the outskirts of Lerwick with a third crawler lane for slow traffic. From the top of the hill there is a steep descent to the sharp bend and a busy road junction followed by a long steep climb up the past a golf course.

From the hill above the golf course the A970 descends steeply to the Veensgarth junction. Just beyond Veensgarth the route follows the A970 north for almost 6 miles (10km). This section is not the greatest for leisure cycling; the road is quite straight and the traffic can be fast. By taking a small loop diversion via Strand and Laxfirth past the pretty Strand Loch, which will add just 0.5 miles (1km), you can avoid 3 miles (5km) on the fastest section of the main road. This option is recommended; cross the A970 at the Veensgarth junction and follow sign for Strand and Laxfirth. This option does mean a right rurn onto the main A970 road further north.

Leave the fast A970 at the junction just north of the Loch of Girlsta which is Shetland’s largest loch. The single-track B9075 to Nesting is a stark contrast to the section which preceeds it; immediately from the turn-off the landscape and the road become much more pleasant. The B9075 ‘Nesting Loop’ winds through North and South Nesting, an intricate landscape of sheltered inlets and scattered crofts – it’s a great cycling road, with constant twists and turns and scenic surprises around many.

At the Skellister junction on the approach to South Nesting Bay, the road passes a prehistoric standing stone high on the hillside above the road. After clinging to the pretty coast of South Nesting Bay the road climbs over the hills to Dury in North Nesting, with some very nice views north to Lunnasting and east to Whalsay. There is a long haul with rolling wild moorland on your left and the waters of Dury Voe on your right to the Junction of the B9071 at Laxo.

Following the B9071 east, just beyond the ferry terminal at Laxo is the Cabin Museum at the Wirlie. This museum is crammed full of mementoes, artefacts, photographs and curios. The small village of Vidlin lies on the sheltered Vidlin Voe lies 1.5 miles (2.5km) beyond. Vidlin has a well stocked shop and is the ferry terminal (with public toilets) for the service to Out Skerries.

Alternative Route:

  • Go south from Lerwick and over to Scalloway then taking the route through the Tingwall Valley.

‘The Third Way’ - An Alternative Route North.

Since the National Cycle Network route through North Mainland has both east and west coast options, cyclists are invited to make a judgement about which is their preferred option. The more desirable cycling option of the two is a close call as both have beautiful sections on quiet single-track roads. However, the straight section of the A970 north of Tingwall (on the east route) can be busy and carries fast traffic.

It is possible to link the west and east routes through Central Mainland by taking the west route via Wormadale on the A971, then linking to the east route via Weisdale on the B9075 and then a much shorter section on the A970. This option through Weisdale is through one of Shetland’s prettiest valleys and Kergord wood for around 4 miles (6.5km), then south for just over 1 mile(2km) on the fast A970 for linking up with the Nesting loop road around the east. This third option is longer, but combines the best of both signposted routes.

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