The Shetland Islands are located off the north coast of Scotland, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the North Sea. The 60° north latitude line passes through the south mainland of Shetland, close to Fia Cottage!
Shetland lies about 100 miles north of mainland Scotland, and about 225 miles west of Norway. It has daily links to Aerdeen by Northlink Ferries. Sumburgh Airport connects Shetland to Aberdeen, Glasgow, Inverness and Edinburgh
Shetland has 13 inhabited islands accessible by road, inter-island ferries and bridges – a perfect location for an active family holiday. “The Mainland” is the largest of the Shetland Islands, with nine smaller inhabited islands around the shores. These islands are Unst, Yell, Fetlar, Skerries, Whalsay, Bressay, Fair Isle, Foula and Papa Stour.
History and Culture
Shetland has a proud and rather unique history. The islands used to be under Scandanavian rule, firstly from Norway after the vikings invaded in the 9th century, and then by Denmark as Norway became increasingly under Danish rule. However during this period there was an increasing influence from Scotland, and the islands finally became officially part of Scotland in 1469 when the King of Denmark gifted the islands to Scotland as part of a wedding dowry when his daughter married James III of Scotland. This has resulted in a unique blend of Scottish and Scandanavian cultures that is celebrated every year with the annual Up Helly Aa viking fire festival.
Nowadays our culture is dominated by our musical traditions, with several music festivals in the Shetland calendar including the Shetland Folk Festival and the Accordion and Fiddle Festival. The Shetland dialect is still spoken by many, with a community group Shetland Forwirds working to preserve the dialect through schools and local events.
Shetland is one of the best places in the United Kingdom to see wildlife. We have a variety of permanent residents and migrating wildlife visiting our shores and lands every year. If you enjoy bird watching or wildlife photography Shetland is definitely the place for you! Popular wildlife here includes Otters, Orcas, Sea Birds, Seals and of course Shetland Ponies. Guided tours give you the best chance of seeing some of these fantastic creatures in the wild. Remember to charge that camera and take plenty of memory cards with you!
The Shetland Climate
Before you consider a holiday in Shetland it’s important to understand the Shetland climate so you know what to expect. The temperature in Shetland remains fairly moderate all year round. The surrounding sea generally keeps temperatures between 5°C in the winter and around 15°C in the summer.
Due to the exposed location, Shetland can be quite windy. Even on a nice summer day, there is usually at least a breeze rolling in from the sea.
Shetland’s latitude means we enjoy almost perpetual sunlight during the summer. The longest day, or weekend is, known locally as the “simmer dim”