Walls - West Burrafirth and Papa Stour

Cycle Information

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cycle-distanceRoute Distance
26.5km / 16.5 miles
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This route takes the A971 for 3.5 miles (5.5km) from Walls through the Bridge of Walls to the junction with the single track road to the left for West Burrafirth. This 5 miles (8km) of single-track is full of ups and downs, twist and turns and must rank among the most scenic roads for cycling in Shetland. The landscape here is the wildest moorland sculpted by ice into crags and rocky knolls with many small lochs in between. There are views over Central Mainland to the east, then west over the spectacular Brindister Voe and the islands which lie beyond.

West Burrafirth is a narrow inlet that offers respite from the wild Atlantic with the ruins of an Iron Age broch on an island near the harbour. The harbour here is the terminal for the Papa Stour ferry and has a waiting room with public toilets.

From West Burrafirth pier ferry services run to Papa Stour. This rugged island boasts some of the most impressive coastline in Shetland, with caves, arches, stacks and skerries. For walkers, wildlife enthusiasts and those interested in geology or archaeology Papa Stour has much to offer. For cycling the island only has about 1 mile (1.5km) mile of surfaced road.

The ferry from West Burrafirth takes about 35 minutes to reach Housa Voe on the east side of Papa Stour. There are only two or three days in the week when the ferry timetable allows a long enough stay on the island for a meaningful walk. The ferry is restricted to the number of passengers it can carry so it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. There are no shops or facilities on the island other than at the ferry waiting room with public toilets at Housa Voe. If you wish to walk Papa Stour’s stunning coastline then details are available in our Walking section.

If you are not taking the ferry you can extend your cycle 1 mile (1.5km) to Snarraness, where you will find a beautiful bay and a road on the hillside which demands some careful cycling!

The return trip requires you to retrace the route to Walls, however this route can be linked with the route to Clousta and Noonsbrough to provide a longer day trip.

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