Walls - Vidlin

This route links West Mainland with the east, with the section north of Bixter part of the National Cycle Network Route 1.

Distance: 37km / 23 miles  (Linear route)

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West Mainland’s narrow but well maintained roads make for great cycling. There is a choice of two exits from Walls to join the A971 to Bixter; either take the A971 direct to Bridge of Walls, or take the minor road north to join the branch of the A971 near the Neothlitic homestead and field system at the Scord of Brouster which is well worth a visit.

At Bixter there is a shop and toilets. From Bixter the route on the B9071 climbs again to give views to the west over Clousta and Aith Voe and the unspoilt wild moorland and hills to the east. The road becomes single-track beyond the settlement of Aith. About 1.5 miles (2.5km) further on the road crosses the Burn of Lunket where a singposted pathfollows the burn to the waterfall and is a gateway to some exhilarating hill-walking across the wonderful views beyond.

The climb from the Burn of Lunklet over West Hill of Burrafirth is a little bigger than those already passed and then the final climb from Gonfirth over Fielnadringa is bigger still. At 439 feet (134m) this is the highest point on the Cycle Shetland touring network. This long climb is compnsated for by some of the best wild upland scenery in Shetland.

It is a beautiful descent from the Loch of Gonfirth to the village of Lower Voe, nestled in its sheltered location at the head of Olna Firth where there is a bar and restaurant for the weary traveller. This is also the location of the Sail Loft which is one of Shetland Amenity Trust’s Camping Böds (camping barns).

From just above Lower Voe the A970 from Brae is joined at the Loch of Voe. This road connects Brae and Sullom Voe Oil terminal with Lerwick so can often be busy with oil industry traffic, especially in the early morning or late afternoon when shifts change.

At the Loch of Voe take the very short stretch south along the A970 before turning to the east on the B9071 towards Vidlin. There is a straight and fairly level run of 4 miles (6.5km) of wide road past Laxo and the Whalsay ferry terminal before the road becomes single track. 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.

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