Shetland offers some of the finest walking in Europe, at all times of the year. The combination of spectacular coastal scenery on both North Sea and Atlantic facing cliffs, quiet inland lochs, and gentle heathery hills is unsurpassed.

The walker has the rare opportunity to discover ancient historical sites dating back to Neolithic times and to observe a wonderful array of wildlife - flowers, birds and mammals. Shetland's amazing geology has brought the isles UNESCO Global Geopark status, and walking is by far the best way of appreciating the extraordinary landscape. Whether young or old, there is something for everyone.

Find your next walking route

If you want to tackle some exhilarating challenges, or simply explore a stunning landscape then a walking holiday in Shetland is the perfect choice.

Marilyns

A Marilyn is a hill of any height with a drop of 150 metres (nearly 500 ft) or more on all sides. In other words, a Marilyn is a hill which is relatively high compared to its surroundings. There are no mountains in Shetland but we do have 19 Marilyns waiting to be explored.

  • The full list of Shetland Marilyns

    NameHeight (m)Height (ft)Map reference
    Dalescord Hill252827HU 39300 68400
    Fitful Head283928HU 34633 13547
    Hill of Arisdale201689HU 49500 84200
    Mid Ward172564HU 32000 65200
    Noss Head181594HU 55384 39886
    Ronas Hill4501476HU 30529 83486
    Royl Field293961HU 39594 28518
    Sandness Hill249817HU 19171 55722
    Saxa Vord285935HP 63121 16623
    Scalla Field281922HU 38932 57260
    Scrae Field216709HU 41790 36148
    The Noup248814HT 95400 37500
    The Sneug4181371HT 94780 39508
    Valla Field216709HP 58462 07867
    Vord Hill159522HU 62229 93521
    Ward Hill217712HZ 20838 73402
    Ward of Bressay226741HU 50287 38722
    Ward of Scousburgh263863HU 38791 18803
    White Grunafirth173576HU 27568 80731

Walking trips and tours

If you have never walked in Shetland before, using a guide is a great way to enjoy a safe introduction to walks which suit your ability. Guided walks are led by highly qualified and knowledgeable guides, who have an in-depth knowledge of the landscape, weather and points of interest which add so much to a walk.

Essential information

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code sets out public access rights and responsibilities and allows everyone to enjoy a right of responsible access under the Land reform (Scotland) Act 2003. Shetland Islands Council has developed a plan of core paths throughout the isles, as listed on this page. Should you have any queries regarding the core path network, you can contact Kevin Serginson the council’s Outdoor Access Officer by email or call +44 (0)1595 744169.

  • Scottish Outdoor Access Code

    Everyone has the right to be on most land and water in Scotland. These access rights and responsibilities are explained in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. The key things to remember are:

    • Take personal responsibility for your own actions and act safely
    • Respect people's privacy
    • Help land managers and others to work safely and effectively
    • Care for your environment, take your litter home and don’t disturb wildlife
    • Keep your dog under proper control and on a lead, and where possible avoid choosing routes that require you to take your dog into fields with other animals
    • Take extra care if you are organising an event or running a business
    • When parking on country roads do not obstruct access roads or access to fields. Park further away if need be
  • Crofting land

    Shetland has many small crofts, which mean that there can be many field boundaries to cross and fields to cross through. Always walk around the edge of the fields where possible and use the stiles and gates provided. Always avoid livestock and do not disturb them, especially during the lambing time (mid-April until late-June).

    If you are a walker with a dog we ask you to follow a few simple rules for your safety:

    • Dogs should be kept on a lead
    • Where possible choose a route that avoids taking your dog into fields with animals
    • Dogs should not be taken into fields with young animals
    • If passing cattle which become agitated, for the safety of yourself and your dog, it is best to unclip the dog from it’s lead and calmly make your way to the nearest exit from the field
  • Safety

    When walking in Shetland, follow these tips:

    • Get a local weather forecast and listen to local advice
    • If you are going on a long walk allow plenty of time for your route and leave details of your party, route and return time either with someone or displayed with your vehicle
    • Shetland’s weather can change fast. Be properly equipped – use several thinner layers rather than one thick one and take waterproofs, fleece, hat and gloves. Good boots are essential
    • Carry the appropriate OS maps for the route you are walking and know how to navigate
    • Take a rucksack containing drink, food, torch, whistle, survival bag and first aid kit. Mobile phones can be useful however don’t rely on them
    • Download the What3Words app to your phone. If you do get in trouble it will be easier for the emergency services to find you
    • Cliffs can be dangerous, stay well clear of the edge
  • In an emergency

    If one of your party has an accident and cannot be moved:

    • Treat any injuries as best you can
    • Calculate your exact position on the map
    • If possible, leave somebody to care for the casualty whilst others safely get help
    • On reaching a telephone, dial 999 and ask for the police
    • Report the map grid reference or What3Words location reference where you left the casualty and details of their condition

Get inspired