Lerwick - Walls

The route connects Lerwick with the scenic West Mainland. It’s a route with four significant hills, but things to get easier as you head west and there are beautiful landscapes all along the way to reward your efforts.

Distance: 38.5km / 23.9 miles  (Linear route)

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The route connects Lerwick with the scenic West Mainland. It’s a route with four significant hills, but things to get easier as you head west and there are beautiful landscapes all along the way to reward your efforts.

Leaving Lerwick from the north, passing the Northlink Ferry terminal, this route will take the busy A970 north to join the A971 just beyond the Veensgarth junction. An alternative option would be to go south from Lerwick and over to Scalloway then take the route through Tingwall to Veensgarth.

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 past the Veensgarth junction.

From where the route joins the A971 near Tingwall airstrip there is a long climb to the top of Wormadale, where the reward is some of the most magnificent views in Shetland. From the viewpoint the panaroma takes in the drowned valley of Whiteness Voe and the islands to the south then contrasts the green headland of Whiteness with the heather covered Strom Ness beyond. On a clear day the three peaks of Foula can be see some 25 miles (40km) to the west. Immediately below the viewpoint is the settlement of Nesbister and the destinctive building on the headland is Nesbister Böd, part of Shetland Amenity Trust’s network of camping böds (camping barns).

After a steep descent from Wormadale the road is never far from water; crossing the bridge at the Loch of Strom it passes through the settlements of Haggersta and Kalliness then loops around Weisdale Voe. The second significant long climb of the route ascends the Scord of Sound with stunning views over Kalliness and Weisdale Voe to the rolling green hills topped with heather beyond. From the viewpoint near the top there is another stunning view south across the ‘small isles’ that lie off Scalloway to the high peak of Fitful Head in the far distance.

The steep ride down towards Tresta opens up views of the rolling hills of the West Mainland that lies across The Firth. Tresta boasts tall trees, an uncommon sight in Shetland, and the fantastic Lea Gardens, regarded as Shetland’s Kew, is open to the public in the afternoons and is well worth a visit.

At Bixter there is a shop and public toilets. Here a National Cycle Network route heads north to Aith, but our route continues west to Bridge of Walls and on to Walls. You can follow the A971 all the way or can you can opt to take a longer route vla the single track road south-west towards Gruting and north-west through West Houlland to rejoin the A971. This route will take you past the Neolithic Stanydale Temple which is well worth the short walk over a way-marked path across wild grassland.

From Bridge of Walls take the left hand branch of the A971 which will take you directly to Walls. As the largest settlement in the West Mainland, Walls has public toilets, a shop and post office as well as a bakery and a small seasonal cafe. Walls is the departure point for the Foula ferry service and is the location of Voe House Camping Böd.

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