Mainland Shetland | Colin Nutt

Ask an Islander

With world-famous festivals like Up Helly Aa and Wool Week, incredible landscapes and an abundance of wildlife, Shetland really does have it all. At 60 degrees north, the archipelago that sits somewhere between Scotland and Scandinavia is surprisingly accessible with regular flights from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Orkney and Manchester courtesy of Loganair. If flying’s not your bag, you can also take the overnight ferry from Aberdeen with NorthLink Ferries.

We asked islander and local photographer Gary Buchan to tell us more about the islands he calls home.

“My favourite time of year has to be summer” he says. “With the arrival of thousands of seabirds to the clifftops, orca all around the coast, wall to wall sunshine, up to 19 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.”

And although winter can be challenging, there’s always an  upside, as Gary explains: “There can be dramatic skies, glorious sunsets and sunrises, and, of course, the bad weather can bring some seriously dramatic seascape imagery.”

The island’s wildlife is always a major pull for visitors and locals alike, with sightings of otters, whales and rare birds a common occurrence throughout the year.

“The wildlife here is spectacular” says Gary, “with otters, orca, humpback whales, a half dozen different species of dolphin, pilot whales, many different species of birds. The list goes on!”

Collect the stamp

The passport stamp for Mainland Shetland depicts a galley head, in celebration of the island’s Norse heritage. Download the free Scottish Islands Passport app to start collecting!

Getting Here

Daily (overnight) ferries from Aberdeen to Lerwick are operated by NorthLink Ferries. Some trips go via Orkney.

Daily flights from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports to Sumburgh Airport are operated by Loganair.

Explore More

Want to find out more about Mainland Shetland and explore more of our amazing islands?

Download the free Scottish Islands Passport app to:

  • discover your perfect island match,
  • find out about the experiences each island has to offer,
  • collect passport stamps for the islands you visit,
  • find information on accommodation, travel and island amenities.

Get Your Passport

You can find lots more information about things to see and do on the island, see some amazing island photography and collect your island stamp by downloading our app.

Download the app

App in phone

Download the Scottish Island Passport app to collect your island stamps! The app also provides lots more information on each island including recommendations from locals about things to see and do, info on how to get around, more stunning photos and useful offline maps.

  • Unlock Stamps - Collect them all! Stamp your passport when you visit each island - with an individual stamp designed to represent a unique aspect of island heritage.
  • Experiences - Discover the best experiences each island has to offer – from local boat trips to exciting traditional festivals, there is something for everyone.
  • Maps - Navigate the islands with useful offline maps, handy for areas where internet connectivity is weak.
  • Travel Jounals - Create an in-location travel journal with pictures from your island adventures, to look back on your trip.
  • Favourites - keep track of your most loved islands with the favourites feature. Available to access from your account on both the app and web.