The high level of sports provision across the isles just shows how seriously Shetlanders take sport. Shetland Recreational Trust operates eight leisure facilities, spread across four islands, each with an impressive array of clubs, classes, equipment and training opportunities.
There are six main leisure centres, located in Lerwick (Clickimin), Aith in west Mainland, Brae in north Mainland, and in the islands of Yell, Unst, and Whalsay. Each contains a swimming pool with comfortable family changing facilities, and indoor courts for badminton, netball, squash and football, as well as a gym containing state-of-the-art cardiovascular and weight training equipment, overseen by friendly and experienced trainers.
The larger centres, such as Clickimin and West Mainland (Aith), have extra facilities such as health suites (featuring saunas and steam rooms), climbing walls, trampolines and carpet bowls.
The gyms are well equipped, and you only need a short induction to start using them. Clickimin also offers the chance to have your fitness assessed for free by a qualified instructor, who can also put together a tailor-made exercise programme to suit your goals and abilities.
The leisure centres each have at least one outdoor pitch for hire (Clickimin has several, as well as an all-weather pitch). There are also community pitches in various locations, maintained by local organisations – you’re never far from one!
The centres host a wild variety of different activities- spinning, rollerskating, and archery to name but a few, with courts available to rent at your leisure. Shetland Recreational Trust offers a whole range of fitness classes, from Aqua-Zumba and Fatburn Extreme to Senior Spinning and the high-intensity Metafit.
In addition, there are also two dedicated swimming pool facilities, found in Scalloway, in central Mainland, and Sandwick, in the south end of the islands, both running a varied programme of lessons and classes, from family friendly fun sessions to adults only swims. They are also very popular locations for parties!
Football is the most popular team sport, managed by the 99-year-old Shetland Football, the UK’s most northerly football association. A dozen teams from all across Shetland play in two leagues, with nearly 10 cups and shields to play for.
As well as the local scene, Shetland Football manages the Shetland county team, which represents the isles in the bi-annual Island Games and the annual intercounty matches against Orkney- a friendly sporting rivalry which stretches back a hundred years.
In addition, there is a thriving ‘works’ league’ of workplace-related teams, and nearly 20 local football associations, which run five-a-side and junior teams and leagues in all corners of the isles, so wherever you are, you’ll be able to find a kick-about.
Netball is another of Shetland’s most popular sports, with 21 teams playing in a league run by Shetland Ladies’ Netball Association. The SLNA also organised the Shetland Netball Squad for matches in the annual Scottish Cup, as well as the Island Games and the traditional intercounty against Orkney.
There are also netball clubs in Aith, Unst, and Whalsay, along with the Shetland Junior Netball Development group, which promotes and organises the sport amongst young people in the isles, with under-13 and under-15 leagues, and coach and umpire development training also available.
Rugby is one of Shetland’s oldest sports, with Shetland Rugby Club starting up in 1878. Shetland Rugby organises teams and leagues for men, women and juniors, as well as training new players and running the Shetland squad for intercounty and national fixtures.
Women’s rugby is increasingly popular, with teams for over-18s, under-18s and under-16s.
Their Fair Isle-inspired strips are real head-turners, too.