Circular walk round Ness of Queyon

This is an moderate walk of about 2 hour’s duration on which you may be lucky enough to see otters.

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Difficultly LevelModerate
Walk Distance6.5km
Duration2 hours
Height Gain40m
Map DescriptionOS Explorer 470 Shetland- Unst, Fetlar & Yell
Start Point Map ReferenceOS HU 866 532

Directions to Start

Yell is accessible by inter-island ferry, and there is public transport available to the ferry terminal and on Yell itself; the bus timetable can be found here.                                            

In season you will see a wide variety of bird life, passing a colony of Tirricks (Arctic terns) at the head of the ness and finding the nests of Shalders (Oystercatchers) with ease. A profusion of wild-flowers including marsh marigolds, yellow iris, mimulus, moss campion, thrift and much else are also to be found between May and September.

I sighted several otters at various times on this walk including the one pictured below.

Commence walk at Aywick shop going down the road towards the sea. After crossing a grid (about 500 metres from shop) turn sharp left and follow the fence line to the shore. Go right along the fence to a gate which leads out to the grassy bank above the shore. Continuing along the coast you will pass through three more similar gates before reaching Salt Wick and the open moorland of Ness of Queyon.

A section of the ness known as ‘The Groin’ features quite high cliffs and care should be taken when walking near the edge.

A little over halfway into the walk you will come to the White Wife (OS HU 854 526). This rather striking and pious-looked memorial is the restored figurehead of the German cadet ship Bohus which was wrecked nearby on 26th April 1924 with the loss of 4 lives. Another couple of hundred metres brings the walker to a fence from which the sandy curve of Otterswick beach can be seen. Head uphill along the fence to a stile and from there follow the next fence round to a gate which leads out to the road-end. From there follow the road to the junction at the East Yell hall where ruins of the old Aywick School can been seen on your left next to the schoolhouse.

From this junction it is possible to make out the remains of the old ‘meal road’ which cut straight through the moor to Mid Yell. This is one of many such roads that were built during the potato famine of 1840 when destitute workers were paid in ‘meal’ (flour or oatmeal) rather than coin.

A three-quarters mile walk will now take you back to Aywick shop. Be sure to visit this amazing little emporium before heading home.

Nearby Sites of Interest

  • The Old Haa in Burravoe is worth exploring to relive the tales of the shipwrecks in the area. You can grab a coffee and homebake whilst you’re there, too!
  • The Sands of Breckon beach is one of the five beaches in Shetland to hold a ‘Keep Scotland Beautiful’ Seaside Award; two of which can be found on Yell. The West Sandwick beach, on Yell’s west coast, in a tranquil stop-off you should try not to miss before leaving the isle.
  • The Shetland Gallery, open from May-September, houses a collection of contemporary Shetland artwork and crafts, and is situated at Sellafirth, just off the main road through the island. Well worth a visit on your way to or from this walk.

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Difficulty Level

  • Easy Walks: under 4 kilometers, usually suitable for majority abilities.
  • Moderate Walks: under 8 kilometers, usually suitable for most abilities. Walks surface may be loose, uneven and muddy. Sensible footwear required.
  • Longer Walks: over 8 kilometers, usually suitable for those with a good standard of fitness. Walks surface likely to be more challenging, loose, uneven and muddy. Stout waterproof footwear with ankle support required.
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