Ask an islander
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Image: Sophie Whitehead-Robertson
Nestled between Orkney and Shetland and a sanctuary to birds and home to the famous knitwear, we couldn’t wait to hear more about Fair Isle. Rachel from Barkland Croft told us all about life at 59 degrees North:
"Walk to the top of Vaasetter for spectacular views over to Sheep Rock and depending on the time of year, there is a seal colony that comes out to rest on the shore around its base. Climb up to Ward Hill, the highest point on the isle and wander among the remains of the old radar station and trig point. Explore the south-west coastline and find Gunglesund, the isle's natural 'swimming pool!’
"I have always loved September partly that sense of 'new school year' and the beginning of a new cycle, but also colourful fungi start to pop up everywhere! That said, I really enjoy the time of year we're currently at (spring) - just a week or so before lambing starts so there's the excitement of that building!
"Visit the George Waterston Memorial Centre and Museum - we have a treasure trove of displays and artefacts, ranging from agriculture to the lighthouse board, shipwrecks to fishing and, of course, Fair Isle knitwear."
Once the ability to travel has been reinstated, if you fancy visiting this wee jewel of an island, sandwiched between Orkney and Shetland, Fair Isle can be reached from the Shetland mainland either by sea or by air. Additionally, during the summer months, Loganair offers flights from Kirkwall to Fair Isle twice a week.
To reach Shetland and Orkney, Northlink Ferries sail daily from Aberdeen and Loganair flies to Sumburgh (Shetland) and Kirkwall (Orkney) from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness - you really do have a variety of travel options.
Up Helly Aa, incredible landscapes and an abundance of wildlife, Mainland Shetland really does have it all!
At 60 degrees north, the archipelago is surprisingly accessible with regular flights from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Orkney and Manchester courtesy of Loganair, and you can also take the overnight ferry from Aberdeen with Northlink Ferries.
Islander and local photographer, Gary Buchan told us more about his home islands:
“Winter brings many challenges with it but, on the upside, there can be dramatic skies, glorious sunsets/sunrises. And, of course, the bad weather can bring some seriously dramatic seascape imagery.”
"The wildlife here is spectacular, with otters, orca, Humpback Whales, a half dozen different species of dolphin, Pilot Whales, many different species of birds. The list goes on!"
"My favourite time of year has to be Summer. With the arrival of thousands of seabirds to the clifftops, Orca all around the coast, wall to wall sunshine, up to 18 hours of daylight and so many great events with music and food, Summer on Mainland Shetland has so much on offer for locals and visitors alike."
If you fancy seeing Shetland for yourself, why not plan your trip? You can find heaps of information as well as travel guidance at https://www.shetland.org/.