Vidlin - Lunna Ness

From Vidlin the 2.5 miles (4km) of single-track road north to Lunna passes the head of Grunna Voe for a long gentle climb then quick descent to the narrow neck of land between West Lunna Voe and East Lunna Voe.

Distance: 17km / 10.6 miles  (Circular route)

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Lunna Kirk is overlooked by Lunna House, the 17th Century mansion of the Hunter family. They also built a nearby watchtower to spy on tenants fishing offshore and to watch out for the Customs as the Hunters, like many Shetland landowners, were smugglers. For a short time in WW2 Lunna House was base for the clandestine Shetland Bus operation which used fishing boats to smuggle spies, saboteurs, radios, ammunition and explosives into German occupied Norway and brought back refugees.

The route continues a further 1.5 miles (2.5km) to another secluded bay and natural harbour jetty at Boatsroom Voe. Hamnavoe, just above the natural sand-bar on the east side of the voe, is home to Böd Ayre Products that manufacture a range of organic products from harvested seaweed.

Lunna Kirk probably dates in part from the 12th Century and in part from a rebuild in the 14th Century; the last rebuild in 1753 makes this the oldest of Shetland’s churches still in use.

The area is well known for wildlife; sea and moorland birds frequent the area, and common and grey seals are often seen basking on skerries. A thriving but elusive otter population has gained part of Lunna Ness designation as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Just past the head of Boatsroom Voe a wide metalled track to the right climbs the hillside and across the headland for 0.5 mile (1km) to the sheltered rocky inlet at Grut Wick. This walk takes you over a stunning ice carved landscape with sheltered lochs nestling between rocky hillocks. A quarry cutting near the end of the track provides an amazing display of huge feldspar crystals of the Valayre Gneiss; another of Geopark Shetland’s amazing rocks.

This track is linked to the walk north to the imposing Steens of Stofast where a large, ice carved, 2000 tonne outcrop of the Valayre Gneiss has been split asunder by freezing and thawing. Details are available on the Walk Shetland website: Steens of Stofast Circular

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