Scalloway - Walls

This route runs to/from West Mainland following the National Cycle Route to Bixter and then extends further west to the village of Walls (or Waas) which makes the natural base for exploring West Mainland.

Distance: 37km / 23 miles  (Linear route)

Download Route: • KML File • GPX File

The first 4miles (6.5km) of the route through Tingwall to Veensgarth are pretty gentle and a very pleasant ride through a green valley made fertile by the limestone bedrock. The B9074 runs along the shore of the Loch of Asta with its prehistoric standing stone by the golf course then past the Loch of Tingwall.

Tingwall was the site of Shetland’s ancient Norse parliament called the Lawting. Delegates are thought to have met at the Lawting Holm, now a green headland, to make laws and decide the rights and wrongs of cases. Nearby is Tingwall Kirk bult in 1798 on the site of a medieval Norse kirk believed to be the ‘mother church’ of Shetland.

At the Veensgarth mini-roundabout take the first left to where the route joins the A971 near the 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; the destinctive building on the headland is Nesbister Böd, part of Shetland Amenity Trust’s network of camping böds (camping barns).

Tingwall was the site of Shetland’s ancient Norse parliament called the Lawting. Delegates are thought to have met at the Lawting Holm, now a green headland, to make laws and decide the rights and wrongs of cases.

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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