Shetland’s earliest settlers, venturing north from the Scottish mainland and Orkney in primitive craft, would have been glad of the refuge that Fair Isle provides. Today, there is a well-sheltered and easily-accessible pier and yacht pontoon at North Haven, or it’s possible to anchor off the pier if preferred.
South Haven and South Harbour are possible alternative anchorages, although caution should be exercised, as they are both difficult to enter safely. Consulting the Clyde Cruising Club's Sailing Directions to the Shetland Islands is essential.
The island lies in the migration paths from Scandinavia, Iceland and Faroe. Consequently, there are massive numbers of both common and rare visiting species. From April to August, the cliffs are busy with thousands of fulmars, kittiwakes, razorbills, guillemots, black guillemots, gannets, shags and puffins, while skuas and terns fiercely defend their nests on the moorland. Grey and common seals are frequently seen, with harbour porpoises mostly seen in summer. Whales and dolphins sometimes cruise close inshore. White-beaked Atlantic white sided dolphins, killer whales (orcas) and minke whales are often spotted from the mail boat "Good Shepherd" on passage to and from Shetland.
The George Waterston Memorial Centre and Museum is housed in the former Fair Isle school on the south of the island. Packed with displays of the island's history from prehistoric times to the present, it’s definitely worth a visit for a unique insight into Fair Isle's past and a better understanding of its present.
If you would like to take home some of that world-famous knitting, this is the only source of genuine Fair Isle garments. A small island cooperative, Fair Isle Crafts, produces high quality knitwear labelled with Fair Isle's own trademark.