A week in Shetland
19.04.2013 - 26.05.2013 7 °C
When I first found about Shetland, the first thing that caught my attention, was its scenery. Next, it was its remoteness. This archipelago lies half way between Norway and the UK. And it's Scotland!
This will to go there started and kept growing until I got on the plane to Aberdeen, to catch the ferry (a 14 hour trip) to Lerwick. (There were planes, of course, but they would cost twice as much and take away the fun of the north sea.)
Arriving in Aberdeen, a city that is not as dark as described and is actually, quite lovely, and with almost 8 hours to go until catching the ferry, I headed to visit Dunnottar Castle, a lovely castle which lies on a cliff, facing the sea. The walking path from Stonehaven to the castle is undoubtedly a scenic one, so I decided to walk my way back to Stonehaven, enjoy a deep fried Mars bar (they say that was invented here) - a delicious and very caloric option.
I returned to Aberdeen, that was now full of people enjoying a sunny afternoon shopping or just walking around the city center. I then boarded the ferry, finding it to be quite empty (one of the advantages of traveling mid season) and relaxed, preparing myself for the next 14 hours. The journey was not bad at all, and the ferry has many facilities, like a restaurant, a bar, a gaming area, a store and the best of all, free wifi
Next day early, the ferry arrived at Lerwick. The day was rainy and it was a Sunday (I later found out that this is a big limitation in Lerwick, as everything is closed), but fortunately the rain stopped and the sun came out, allowing me to have a nice walk around Lerwick, the surrounding hills and some of the city's landmarks.
The next 3 days I spent exploring the archipelago, by car - is certainly the best way -, driving on the left side of the road, a new experience for me. Shetland is a very beautiful place, with a enormous seashore and 1 week is certainly not enough to explore it well. One can enjoy walking, bird watching, whale watching and specially rest and breathe fresh air, as the nature is the commanding force there.
The 3 main islands (from south to north: Mainland, Yell and Unst) are well connected with a ferry system and you can also easily visit Bressay island (just across Lerwick) and Bressay (east of Yell) by frequent ferries. Visits to the other islands have to be prepared in advance. There are also flights to some of them.
There are no trees, but that doesn't seem to make much difference in this spectacular landscape. The wind may bother you a bit, but after a while you just get used to it. And if you visit Shetland in the summer, you'll have plenty of daylight hours! And in some places, your only company will be sheep and Shetland ponies.
I spent the last day in Shetland shopping and exploring a bit more of Lerwick. The Shetland museum is brilliant in both content and facilities, with free entrance, so I highly recommend it.