Grutness Beach

Close to Sumburgh Airport and the ferry terminal for Fair Isle, the south-east facing strand at Grutness might appear, at a distant glance, to be an ordinary pebble beach. However, if – taking great care - you scramble among those ‘pebbles’, you realise that the scale is all wrong: they’re huge, many weighing a ton or more. The power of the sea here is extraordinary: these monstrous rocks have been tossed about, rounded and smoothed as though they were just centimetres in diameter, rather than up to a metre. This shore is exposed to the full force of south-easterly gales and this is one place where, even on the calmest day, the potential of the sea is unmistakable. Grutness holds another attraction: in the waters here, around Sumburgh Head, whales, including orcas, may sometimes be seen and they occasionally come remarkably close to the shore here, hunting for seals.