Spring is a favourite time in Shetland, as the islands burst into life after winter. Skylarks and oystercatchers can be heard again, breeding seabirds return to cliffs around the islands, and wildflowers add colour to the landscape. Musical celebration also returns with a bang, when the annual Shetland Folk Festival takes place in early May.

Get out and explore Shetland

Anyone exploring Shetland in the spring will soon discover what an exciting and energetic time of year it is.

As the days lengthen and get warmer, nature leaps into action. Breeding seabirds return to the cliffs around the islands, wildflowers begin to burst into bloom and lambs and Shetland pony foals start to arrive all over Shetland – making it the ideal time to get outdoors.

Like any other season in Shetland, the weather can change quickly and when out exploring you should always make sure you have warm and waterproof clothing and suitable footwear. To read more about safely enjoying Shetland's spectacular landscapes, check out our blog post.

Whether you are an experienced wildlife watcher, a keen walker or travelling with a young family that simply enjoys exploring the great outdoors you will find that springtime in Shetland offers a huge amount to stir the senses.

Outdoor adventures

Shetland spring lambs and foals

Roar into voar

Voar is the Shetland dialect word for spring. For crofters it's one of the busiest times of year as lambing season approaches.

But it's also a time when many outdoor activities restart – that often means getting on the water again, taking in part in Shetland's annual spring clean, Da Voar Redd Up, or heading to the hills to enjoy some fresh air and amazing wildlife.

Check out the features below to discover more about how important the season is in the Shetland calendar, and why it is the favourite time of year for many Shetlanders.

Voar traditions – why spring is the busiest time of year

A global gathering

Shetland Folk Festival

Shetland Folk Festival is an event unlike any other and is often regarded as one of best musical gatherings in the world.

The festival is organised by a committee of dedicated volunteers, and the community at large gets involved in the event, with many hosting visiting musicians in their own homes.

Concerts are staged in every corner of the islands, and the Shetland Folk Festival club is famous for its late-night gatherings and unrivalled impromptu sessions.

After a weekend of fun the festival concludes with a series of marathon concerts held concurrently, which sees all the visiting artistes (usually about 15 bands) tour three Lerwick venues playing a short set at each.

For anyone remotely interested in traditional live music, it is a "must see" festival.

Shetland's Springtime Spree

A world-renowned folk festival

Every spring, Shetland welcomes musicians from around the world for its annual, much respected, celebration of folk music.

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