Awards and accolades put Shetland on the map

by Promote Shetland -

With Shetland being recognised as a top tourist destination by Lonely Planet recently, we thought we’d list some of the other great accolades our islands have been celebrated for…

Five of the best beaches in Scotland

Five beaches in Shetland have been awarded in Scotland’s Beach Awards for being clean, well managed and sustainable. St Ninians and West Voe beaches in the South Mainland, Sands of Breckon and West Sandwick in Yell, and Tresta beach in Fetlar, are among 56 Scottish beaches which have achieved award status from the Seaside Award programme. What’s more, with a low population in Shetland, visitors to these beaches quite often find that they have them all to themselves. A real slice of desert paradise in the north!

To find out more about the Beach Awards head to the Keep Scotland Beautiful website.

Shetland UNESCO Global Geopark status

Shetland’s rich and diverse geological heritage means that it has the honour of being listed as one of only seven geoparks in the UK. A global geopark is classed as an area of geological significance and has three main objectives: to protect the geological landscape and the nature within it; to educate visitors and local communities; and to promote sustainable development, including sustainable tourism.

Highlights of the Shetland UNESCO Global Geopark include the volcanic coastal landscape at Eshaness, the glacial melt-water valley at Gloup Voe in Yell and the massive fault line at the Back o Ollaberry. Read more about the places you can visit in Shetland that best showcase its geological heritage.

To find out more about Shetland UNESCO Global Geopark status, head to the Shetland Amenity Trust website.

One of Scotland’s best hikes

Wanderlust magazine is one of the best-known and popular travel magazines in the country, so it was great to see Shetland making the list in their countdown of Scotland’s best hikes. They rated Muckle Flugga in Unst as the ‘best hike for getting away from it all’.

They said: “The dramatic coastline of Muckle Flugga, the northernmost tip of Britain, on Unst in the Shetland Isles, was made for hiking and getting back to nature. A walk here makes it easy to forget work and everyday cares.”

The walk around Muckle Flugga takes in the dramatic coastline around the most northerly point in Britain and overlooks the Hermaness National Nature Reserve, home to thousands of breeding seabirds.

To find out more about Muckle Flugga, visit our Unst area page. To read the full article on Best Scottish Hikes head to Wanderlust’s website.

Top cruise destination in Western Europe

Lerwick, the main town in Shetland, has been named one of the top cruise ports in Britain and Western Europe. Cruise passengers were surveyed on their favourite destinations by Cruise Critic, the top cruise review website. Lerwick ranked number three in the list, just behind Cork at number two and Kirkwall, in Orkney, which hit the top spot.

Read our blog to find out more about the Cruise Critic awards, and for more on cruise holidays head to the Shetland Cruise website.

Best small woodlands in Scotland

It’s awards like this that make us proud to be Shetlanders. Michaelswood, in the West Mainland village of Aith, was this year awarded the Best Small Community Woodland Award at Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards – an annual event which rewards and showcases all that is best in Scotland’s forests and woods.

Shetland might have a reputation for having no trees but Michaelswood is a young woodland developed by the Aith community in memory of Michael Ferrie, a young musician who died in 1996 from cancer, aged just 21. Despite its sad origins the woodland is a vibrant and lively place with many interesting and enchanting features to entertain, educate and excite the young and the old.

Head to the Michaelswood website to find out more about its history and planning a visit.

Shetland sites on UNESCO World Heritage shortlist

Three sites in Shetland – Mousa, Old Scatness and Jarlshof, grouped under the banner ‘The Crucible of Iron Age’ – have been shortlisted for UNESCO World Heritage status. The sites were shortlisted in 2011 and there is an application process that lasts up to 10 years before we find out if the sites have been awarded full status. But, just to be considered for the shortlist is a huge accolade for Shetland. If successful, ‘The Crucible of Iron Age’ will join other world heritage sites such as the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, the Statue of Liberty, the Great Pyramids and Red Square.

Read more about Shetland’s Word Heritage application.

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