Shetland's 'jigsaw' shape makes the coastline amazingly long - at least 1,697 miles (2,702km). This is a very old landscape. Although repeatedly flooded by the sea, the basic shape of Shetland has probably changed little for many millions of years.
Geologically, Shetland is complicated, containing everything from volcanic lavas and granite to sandstone and limestone. The 'grain' of the landscape runs mainly SSW-NNE, with lines of almost parallel hills, valleys and sea lochs composed of 'metamorphic' rocks made from sand and mud squashed and heated over aeons of time. More about Shetland geology...
'The Old Rock' Adrift
Many of Shetland's rocks date from the Devonian period, some 370 million years ago, and were laid down in desert conditions between the old Caledonian Mountains to the west and an inland sea to the east.
Fish and fern fossils show this was before flowering plants, insects, birds and most land animals had evolved. What later became Shetland was at that time about 15 degrees south of the Equator, in the latitude of modern Angola. So 'The Old Rock', as Shetlanders call their homeland, has drifted half way round the world.