A quick introduction
Like much of the rest of Shetland, there's evidence of settlement in Foula dating back to the Iron and Bronze Ages. Around 800 AD, Norsemen conquered Foula and took up residence in the fertile Hametoon, leaving us croft names like Norderhus, Krugali, and Guttren, and many other descriptive Norse placenames.
Due to its remote location, it is believed that Foula existed for many years almost as an independent entity in its own right. It was one of the last places in Shetland where the old Norn language, a relic of Norse times, was spoken.
After the Scots took over Shetland in the 15th century, Foula became part of a west Shetland estate. The entire population was almost wiped out by famine and smallpox in the 18th century, but it was repopulated by people from the Mainland.
Today, Foula is home to around 35 islanders, who share it with thousands of birds, hundreds of hardy Shetland ponies and colourful sheep, and even its own sub-species of field mouse. It is an island rich with folklore and history and has a strong musical tradition.
How to get to Foula
You can get to Foula by ferry from the pier at Walls, in the West Mainland, which operates three times a week; the crossing takes 2 hours 15 minutes. Please note that this is not a car ferry and booking is essential. It is not possible to make a day trip to Foula by ferry, as the ferry is based on the island and, on the days when it operates, it makes only one return trip.
Both the air and the sea service are very dependent on weather, so it's best to check with the operators before you set off for the pier or the airport.
Where to stay
Foula has self-catering accommodation available; see the Foula Heritage website for more information.