Walk Information

height-gainHeight Profile
hikingDifficulty Level
walk-distanceRoute Distance
4 hours 30 minutes (longer walk)
height-gainHeight Gain
map-locationMap Description
OS Explorer 470: Shetland - Unst, Yell & Fetlar
locationStart Point Map Reference
HP 5266 0485
locationStart Point Map Reference (what3words)
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Directions to start

Yell is accessible by inter-island ferry, and there is public transport available to the ferry terminal and on Yell itself. View the bus timetable.

Yell's furthest north beach at Breckon is often sheltered from Shetland's prevailing south westerly winds. From Breckon Farm follow the road south then west towards Gloup. Here you can visit the memorial carved and erected in memory of fifty eight Shetland fishermen who were caught by appalling weather in July 1881. The boats set out from Gloup Voe, just below where the memorial stands.

From Gloup Voe follow the track to Gloup Ness and great views from the old coast guard watch hut and then follow the coast towards Breckon to the south east keeping an eye out for bird life and even otters.

There have been many shipwrecks along this stretch of coastline. If you have time to visit the local museum in Burravoe, you can read some of the harrowing accounts and see artefacts washed up or retrieved by divers. Ask about the Lastdregger and the Diana in particular.

Skirting below Breckon Farm follow the path down and then along the award winning sands to the Ness of Houlland. Otters are often seen here and if you are interested in stones, hunt among the crevices of the rocks at the eastern end for rough "sugary" garnets, which sometimes get washed out of the more crumbly mica schists. The geology here is interesting, with much faulting and folding.

The narrow headland of Ness of Houlland stretches out to the northwest, ending in the ragged rocky Outsta Ness, much frequented by seabirds of all kinds. A scramble out here used to be an exciting challenge, but further erosion by winter seas has made it dangerous now. There are fine views from here to the west side of Unst and along the north coast of Yell.

Make your way back through fascinating alignments of big boulders in several places. People have built homes and worked the land, here, from the earliest periods of human settlement in Shetland. Sadly however, so much storm damage and sand blow has occurred, that systematic archaeological analysis has been said to be impossible, as all the periods have been jumbled up and follow the waymarked path behind the dunes back up to the farm.

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