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Lerwick

  • The New Shetland Museum and Archives at Hay's Dock, Lerwick, Shetland, Scotland, was officially opened on 31 May 2007 by HM Queen Sonja of Norway and the Duke & Duchess of Rothesay.

    A great place to spend a rainy day, with lovely views out over the harbour, Free entry with a donation box. Closed on Monday, a nice wee shop with some great books on the archipelago and a in-house cafe & restaurant.

    This is a award winning comprehensive Museum and Archives, tells the story of Shetland, from the rocks that formed it, through the first prehistoric settlers and later settlers right through to the present day, you can sit in a 'trowie knowe', see the interior of a recreated croft house and see a very good section on Fair Isle, from traditional through to modern and the history of tweed production in Shetland you can even have a go at designing a Fair Isle sweater, naturally the sea played a big part in Sheltand's history and the displays bring to life the harsh conditions faced by many of the islands' people throughout the centuries.

    This multifunctional visitor attraction is in the heart of Sheltand's capital town of Lerwick.

    • Shetland Museum and Archives Geolocation Latitude 60.157834 Longitude -1.149918
    • Shetland Museum and Archives Map
    • Shetland Museum and Archives Postcode ZE1 0WP
    • Shetland Museum and Archives Weather Forecast
    • Shetland Museum and Archives Reviews
    • Shetland Museum and Archives Discussion Forum
    • Shetland Museum and Archives Tracks & Routes

    The museum has two floors with stone cottages, boats hanging from the ceiling and a replica of a lighthouse, a fascinating place, it really requires more than one visit to reach a real understanding of island life, you can explore the fascinating story of Sheltand's heritage and culture all in one place, there are a huge number of exhibits, beautifully displayed, with lots of interesting facts for little archaeologists, naturalists and geologists, this island is steeped in history with the museum doing a great job presenting in all aspects, interesting exhibitions of local artists and hosts events and temporary exhibitions, Unfortunately some of the key discoveries from Shetland, such as the St. Ninian's treasure are only on show here in the form of reproductions, you will have to go to the National Museum of Scotland to see the originals. 

    The museum will keep children of all ages,interested and entertained by the interactive activities, displays and dressing up areas, there are plenty of multi-sensory exhibits, with listening spots where you can hear the Shetland dialect being spoken and plenty of portable seating so that you could stay and study any exhibits of particular interest.

    Staff are knowledgeable very helpful and friendly all eager to enhance your enjoyment of this museum.

    You can also get free internet access and excellent toilet facilities.

  • Shetland consists solely of the islands Formerly known as the County of Shetland or Zetland.

    This archipelago of 100 islands only seventeen are inhabited laying some 60 miles north of Orkney and thus l l0 miles from the Scottish mainland, used to be regarded not merely as geographically the Ultima Thule of Britain (which it is) but as so remote so inaccessible, as to be unimportant in most maps and atlases it appears as an inset, and on some, of the British Isles, it does not appear at all. lt was thought of as an almost foreign place where the residents bred charming little ponies and knitted beautiful warm woollen garments. To go to Shetland was regarded as something of an adventure the ‘explorer’ might even be stranded there by bad weather. It is safe to say that the

    Shetlanders did not mind this apparent neglect, maybe they even enjoyed it and were happy in their independence from ‘the mainland‘ for indeed they had their own Mainland and were largely self-contained.

    Today however there are greatly increased air services from all the Scottish airports, connecting with flight's from London and other places in England and it has been necessary to extend the Shetland airport at Sumburgh, and sea services to Lerwick and among the islands have been much improved by regular car-ferries. Recent explorations and developments in oil have finally shattered any remaining isolation that the Shetlanders enjoyed. for Shetland, even more than its southern neighbour Orkney, is now a key point in the scramble for that commodity. But it should be noted in passing that Shetland was fortunate in having in its then County Council people who foresaw the perils and pitfalls of sudden, vast oil developments and took steps to protect the area.

    • Shetland Geolocation Latitude 60.155582° N Longitude -1.1500366° E
    • Shetland Map
    • Shetland Weather Forecast
    • Shetland Reviews
    • Shetland Discussion Forum
    • Shetland Tracks & Routes
    • Lerwick, has been the capital of Shetland since taking over from Scalloway in 1708.

    Shetland is a subarctic archipelago of Scotland that lies northeast of Scotland, they form part of the division between the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the North Sea to the east,

    about 105 miles from the Scottish mainland and 174 miles south east of the Faroe Islands and some 50 miles to the northeast of Orkney, the Islands around Shetland are the Fair Isle, Unst, Foula, Yell Shetland, the second largest island in Shetland after the Mainland after Whalsay Island with an area of 82 square miles, Bressay, Fetler, Tondre, Mouse, Papa Stour, Out Skerries, St Ninians Isle, Muckle Roe and Vaila, Shetland is 598 miles north of London and 400 miles south of the Arctic Circle, this is as far north as St Petersburg, Russia, or Anchorage, Alaska.

    The climate in Shetland is mild throughout the summer months, with average temperatures in the low teens centigrade, rainfall levels are similar to those in the rest of the United Kingdom.

    The weather can be dramatic at times though, even in summer, and sudden changes are common, from right sunshine to heavy rain, strong wind, calm, fog, even snow, can all be experienced in a single day.

    The island offers some amazing sights there are miles of breathtaking coastline fringed by pristine beaches and crystal-clear, vivid blue shores, excellent fishing, a vast cultural and geological heritage, the chapel on St. Ninian's Isle is famous for the "treasure": 28 Pictish silver objects and the jaw bone of a porpoise which were buried under a cross-marked slab close to the altar, settlements and archaeological sites dating from prehistoric to bronze age and early iron age period until the 20th century, a period of over 2,500 years, with Shetland having some remarkable archaeological sites ever excavated in the British Isles”.

    The largest islands are Yell, Unst, Whalsay, Fetlar, Bressay and Mainland Shetland, these are also the islands likely to be of most interest to anglers.

    Shetland is home to a number of extremely innovative fly dressers, many of whose patterns work just as well on English reservoirs as they do on Scottish lochs, a great advantage for the summer visitor, especially for anglers is the long hours of daylight. Because Shetland lies at 60° north of the equator, there is no real darkness during the weeks around midsummer, known locally as the 'simmer dim',

    Shetland continues to be the place to witness autumn migration in the UK and get to see some truly stunning birds in stunning settings, here you will find a whole host of abundant wildlife, birds, otters and seals, see mysterious Storm Petrels returning to their nests in Britain's famous broch? photograph phalaropes feeding at your feet, watch Killer Whales hunting in our pristine seas or explore Britain's most northerly point and one of the world's best 'seabird cities'. birding extensions included Snowy 

    Owl, Pied-billed Grebe, Swainson's Thrush, Yellow-breasted Bunting, Citrine Wagtail, River Warbler, Booted Warbler, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Pallas's Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Barred Warbler, lots of Yellow-browed Warblers, Great Grey Shrike, Red-backed Shrike, Ring-necked Duck, American Golden Plover, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Sabine's Gull, Grey Phalarope, Long-eared and Short-eared Owls, Waxwing, Common Rosefinch, Little Egret (rare here!), Hen Harrier, Merlin, Greater Scaup, Great Northern Diver, Spotted Redshank, Long-tailed Ducks, Slavonian Grebe, Ring Ouzel, Brambling, Pied Flycatcher and a large selection of common migrants and a couple of Humpback Whales, a pod of Orcas, regular sightings of Otters, several pods of Harbour Porpoise and some nice displays of the Aurora Borealis.

    Shetland seems to have something for everybody! beautiful, a spectacular coastline and plenty of indoor activities for a rainy day.

    Despite its remoteness, reaching Shetland is easy. You can fly to the islands from three Scottish airports: Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh, by north coast ferry overnight from Aberdeen or Kirkwall, if you travel by ferry you can bring your car.

    • Shetland Latitude: 60.5297° N Longitude: 1.2659° W
    • Shetland Postcode ZE1
    • Shetland WOEID 34602

    This group of islands which are the most northerly of Scotland's islands, comprises 100 isles of which less than 20 are inhabited. The capital Lerwick is on the east coast of Mainland which is 50 miles long from end to end and 20 miles at its widest point.

    Shetland is some 60 miles to the north of Orkney.  Shetland by contrast with Orkney has few tracts of flat land, is deeply penetrated by the sea and until recently had an economy dominated by fishing and crofting. The oil boom of the 1970s led to the disruption of this traditional and well balance economy. Today with the largest European oil port sited at Sullom Voe, the oil industry comes second after fishing. It is planned to use oil revenues to bolster the traditional industries (crofting, fishing, fish processing and knitwear). Shetland and the visitor. The oil-related industrialization is limited to Sullom Voe.

    Elsewhere the islands retain the attractions of wild beauty, solitude and empty spaces. The mainland with all its coastal indentations means the sea is ever present. The long coastline is varied and of outstanding beauty, be it rocky and rugged or sandy and smooth. Again the wildlife is varied and plentiful.

    Up Helly Aa is a colourful and rousing fire festival is the most spectacular reminder of the Viking heritage, Explanations for the pageant held on the last Tuesday in January are various, from spring rites to placating the Norse gods, or up ending of the holy days. The principal figure the Guizer Jarl (earl) and his warriors, all clad in the finery of Viking war dress, head the great torch lit procession in their Viking long ship.

    A thundering rendering of the Galley Song precedes the burning of the galley and the final song, The Norseman's Home, Celebrations continue throughout the night.

    Only parts of the original house and barn, dating from the 13 to 16C, are preserved. Jarlshol. - The 16C New Hall was built for Earl Robert Stewart. It was converted into kitchens when a new Laird's House was added in the early 17C. Museum. - This has finds from excavations and a plan of the entire Jarlshof site. Lerwick to Jarlshof. - 20 miles. This run takes in various aspects of Shetland. The port capital of Lerwick is set on a promontory overlooking the natural harbour, sheltered by the Island of Bressay. A!ways important as a fishing port, the oil boom has brought new activities to the town. A port par excellence. - As a haven, Lerwick provided shelter for King Haakons and other Viking fleets, Dutch fishing vessels in the 17C, the German and British navies in this century and now has an assorted flottila of oil vessels. Commercial Street. - Known affectionately as The Street, this paved and twisting thoroughfare winds its way along the shore. Steep lanes lead off uphill. Fort Charlotte. - From the walls of this 1 7C fort, rebuilt in the 18C, there is a good view of Bressay Sound and island of the same name. Town Hall. - Stained glass windows depict Viking history. Shetland Museum. - The exhibits illustrate Shetland history from the Stone Age. Clickhimin Broch. - The broch is the outstanding structural feature of this islet, which gives evidence of successive occupations. Although only 17ft high the characteristic layout of this defensive structure with its mural chambers and staircase, can still be seen. Discover the more desolate moorland scenery, at times interrupted by peat cutting, the varied and attractive shoreline with crofting townships down by the sea and the numerous vestiges of man's occupation in the past.

    The main road, before the turn off for Scalloway, provides a good view of the inlet of Gulber Wick. Deeply penetrating arms of the sea or voes are typical of Shetland. On the way down pass on the right the valley which is the setting for Tingwall Loch. The head of the loch is reputed to be the site of the Law Ting Holm or meeting place of the old Norse Parliament SeaHoway is a attractively set round its bay, this the onetime capital, is dominated by the ruin of Sea 110 way Castle. As the principal island seat of Patrick Earl of Orkney it is no less splendid than his other residences.

    Attractive details include the corbelling of the corner turrets. sculptured panel above the entrance doorway and sandstone window, door and angle trims. St Ninian's Isle. - An attractive tombola beach links this idyllic island to the mainland. It was in the ruins of an early Christian church that one of the most important treasure troves of silverware was found. The originals of St Ninian's Treasure are in the National Museum of Antiquities while the Shetland Museum has replicas. The B9122 offers views of a succession of small sandy bays sheltered by headlands. Shetiand Croft House Museum. - This croft in the typical crofting township of Boddam gives an accurate picture of rural life in the mid·19G. The croft steading itself comprises kitchen, sleeping accommodation and byre with the barn behind and a small horizontal water mill down by the stream. Note the roofing of cured turf with straw on top. Return to the main road, making south again towards the site of Sumburgh Airport on its isthmus separating the waters of the Atlantic and North Sea. This is an outstanding example of a broch, a structure unique to Scotland and the north in particular.

    On this uninhabited island the visitor may glimpse seals basking on the shore and a small group of Shetland ponies. Broch period. - Brochs are the culmination of a tradition of small stone fortified farms stretching back to 500 BC. Mousa itself probably dates to the first two centuries of our era. Mousa may have been more strongly built than the other 500 known brochs in Scotland, most of which are found in the Highlands and Islands. Many have been reduced to rubble. The Broch. - Impressive from the outside it is awesome and fascinating inside. Ingeniously constructed, the tower is 43ft 6in high with a 50ft diameter at the base. The shape, not unlike a bottle kiln, swells out at the base. Enter by the 16ft long passage which had a door midway along. The courtyard with central hearth was surrounded by lean-to timber structures supported by the scarcements (ledges) still visible on the inner faces of the walls. Three doorways lead to mural chambers. a fourth opens into a staircase, again mural, which leads to the wall head.

    Above the uppermost scarcement the hollow wall is divided by stone slabs into galleries, which open onto the courtyard leans of three sets of ladder-like openings. Discover the more desolate moorland scenery, at times interrupted by peat cutting, the varied and attractive shoreline with crofting townships down by the sea and the numerous vestiges of man's occupation in the past. The main road, before the turn off for Scalloway, provides a good view* of the inlet of Gulber Wick. Deeply penetrating arms of the sea or voes are typical of Shetland. On the way down pass on the right the valley which is the setting for Tingwall Loch. The head of the loch is reputed to be the site of the Law Ting Holm or meeting place of the old Norse Parliament SeaHoway Attractively set round its bay, this the one time capital. As the principal island seat of Patrick Earl of Orkney it is no less splendid than his other residences. Attractive details include the corbelling of the corner turrets. sculptured panel above the entrance doorway and sandstone window, door and angle trims. St Ninian's Isle. - An attractive tombola beach links this idyllic island to the mainland.

    It was in the ruins of an early Christian church that one of the most important treasure troves of silverware was found. The originals of St Ninian's Treasure are in the National Museum of Antiquities while the Shetland Museum has replicas. The B9122 offers views of a succession of small sandy bays sheltered by headlands. Shetiand Croft House Museum. - This croft in the typical crofting township of Boddam gives an accurate picture of rural life in the mid·19G. The croft steading itself comprises kitchen, sleeping accommodation and byre with the barn behind and a small horizontal water mill down by the stream. Note the roofing of cured turf with straw on top.

    Return to the main road, making south again towards the site of Sumburgh Airport on its isthmus separating the waters of the Atlantic and North Sea.This is an outstanding example of a broch, a structure unique to Scotland and the north in particular. On this uninhabited island the visitor may glimpse seals basking on the shore and a small group of Shetland ponies. Broch period. - Brochs are the culmination of a tradition of small stone fortified farms stretching back to 500 BC. Mousa itself probably dates to the first two centuries of our era. Mousa may have been more strongly built than the other 500 known brochs in Scotland, most of which are found in the Highlands and Islands. Many have been reduced to rubble.

    The Broch. - Impressive from the outside it is awesome and fascinating inside. Ingeniously constructed, the tower is 43ft 6in high with a 50ft diameter at the base.

    The shape, not unlike a bottle kiln, swells out at the base. Enter by the 16ft long passage which had a door midway along. The courtyard with central hearth was surrounded by lean-to timber structures supported by the scarcements (ledges) still visible on the inner faces of the walls. Three doorways lead to mural chambers. a fourth opens into a staircase, again mural, which leads to the wall head. Above the uppermost scarcement the hollow wall is divided by stone slabs into galleries, which open onto the courtyard means of three sets of ladder-like openings. SULLOM VOE (Mainland) 35 miles from Lerwick From the main A970 the only indication of Europe's number one oil terminal is the eternal flame on the flare stack, The decisive factors in siting an oil terminal and accompanying port facilities at Sullom Voe were the presence of a deep sheltered inlet and its proximity to the oilfields in the East Shetland Basin, The port with its four specialized jetties can handle ships of up to 300 000 tons, and the terminal 1 400 000 barrels of oil per day.

    The oil arrives via two pipelines from 11 offshore oilfields 100 miles to the northeast. The gases (propane and butane) are separated from the oil and then stored prior to shipment. The terminal has no refining facilities. Calback Ness peninsula is the site for sixteen huge storage tanks.

    Statistically, Shetland has a land area of 550 sq. miles but the land is penetrated by innumerable “voes‘ (the equivalent of sea lochs on the Scottish mainland) giving it a coastline of no less than 3.000 miles lying rather above latitude 60 degrees north It is equidistant from Aberdeen and Bergen stretches over 70 miles from Sumburgh Head to Muckle Flugga, and is about 30 miles across at its broadest; beyond these limits are the satellite islands of Fair Isle 25 miles south of Sumburgh, and Foula, 20 miles west of Walls on the western part of the Mainland. Even the Romans noticed those voes. Tacitus, 1,900 years ago, recounting a Roman fleet’s discovery that Britain Was an island by sailing round the top of it, noted that Orkney was ‘discovered and subdued’ ‘Thule [Shetland] was sighted by our men, but no more Nowhere does the sea hold wider sway; it carries to and fro in its motions a mass of currents, and in its ebb and flow, it is not held by the coast but penetrates deep into the land and winds about in the hills, as if in its own domain.‘ So the Romans left Shetland alone, little knowing that it had been occupied by man more than 2,000 years earlier, for the islands have more prehistoric sites to the sq. mile than any other comparable area in Britain, more than sixty Neolithic sites have been found, and there are ninety-five brochs, the most notable being at Mousa, Clickhimin and Jarlshof, apparently built by the Picts against raiders.

    The Norsemen arrived about A.D. 800, Their invasion was apparently peaceful, they turned Shetland into a busy staging-post for their further conquests, and  they stayed for 500 years: the place-names are Norse, the dialect contains many traces of their language, and there is still much Viking blood among the Shetlanders. It is only 500 years since Shetland became part of Scotland.

    Pawned by King Christian of Denmark for 8.000 fiorins in the dowry of his daughter Margaret when she married James 111 in 1469, Probably the unhappiest period in Shetland history was under the oppressive and cruel Stewart earls, from 1564. who attempted to destroy the islanders‘ traditional ‘udal‘ system whereby they were responsible to no man providing their taxes were paid, and it may be that Shetland's new standing as an islands Authority will remove the last bitterness remaining from those unhappy days.

    The sea is everywhere in Shetland at no point is it more than 3 miles distant and, in spite of the oil boom which has provided more employment for local men and, happily, for returning emigrants, fishing is still a full time occupation for many islanders catching herring, cod, haddock, whiting, plaice, lobster and crab.

    Sadly, the traditional knitting and making of finely spun garments from the small native sheep with their peculiarly fine wool is threatened by the advance of technology and machine knitting, but the fortunate visitor may still find a beautiful Shetland shall so fine in texture that it can be drawn through a weddingring.

    Shetland of course is famous for midsummer nights when there is virtually no darkness. just a few hours of twilight, but in winter, thanks to the Gulf Stream, it is normally much milder than most places in Scotland and snow seldom lies.