Join this holiday via Aberdeen, or travel with us from Nethy Bridge.
Day 1 - Saturday
We fly Aberdeen – Sumburgh. We head north to our base on the Island of Unst, heading through north Mainland and Yell. Overnight Unst.
Day 2 - Sunday FETLAR
We take the ferry to Fetlar, known locally as the Garden of Shetland for its relative fertility. We aim to spend at least 6 hours on this charming small island. We will have topped up our list with seabirds on the crossings and at the ferry terminals, but the main delights are on Fetlar itself. Here dainty Red-necked Phalarope can be seen at really close quarters, and Red-throated Diver, Whimbrel, Golden Plover, Great Skua, Arctic Skua and Twite breed. We have a good chance of Otter along the shoreline too. Overnight Unst.
Day 3 - Monday HERMANESS
At Hermaness, a walk through the world’s second-largest Great Skua colony takes us to the northernmost cliffs of the British Isles. From the 400ft high cliffs, we overlook the lighthouse of Muckle Flugga and around 140,000 breeding seabirds! We also look for Orchids and Edmondston’s Chickweed (Shetland Mouse-ear), one of the world’s rarest plants, endemic to Shetland. We will also visit a replica Viking longboat and longhouse, as well as taking in Britain's most northerly everything, from the famous bus-stop to the lesser known village of Skaw - a great spot for migrant birds too! Overnight Unst.
Day 4 - Tuesday MAINLAND and NOSS
We leave our base on Unst and travel south arriving in Lerwick before lunchtime with a bit of free time if needed to souvenir hunt, with the local knitwear high on the list! We then board our vessel and head northeast, past the coastline of Bressay and towards the sights and sounds of Noss National Nature Reserve. Noss is home to over 100,000 pairs of breeding seabirds. We sail close to the sandstone cliffs on the east side of the island which provide rocky ledges and nooks for thousands of Gannet and Guillemot and hundreds of Kittiwake, Puffin, Razorbills, Black Guillemot and Shag, whilst the moorland interior is home to Bonxies and a few Arctic Skuas (NB This is a non-landing cruise). Overnight Sumburgh.
Day 5 - Wednesday MAINLAND and MOUSA
Heading north across Mainland, We will spend a couple of hours exploring the remoter parts of Mainland, which have breeding Red-throated Divers, Whooper Swans and scarce breeders on inland lochs, and where outlying headlands are some of the best places to see Harbour Porpoise and occasional Dolphins, Minke Whale and Orca. These back roads will see us held upin Shetland traffic jams, with Shetland Ponies and Shetland Sheep slowing our progress along the single-track roads! We will also explore the north east Mainland, a favoured Otter watching point, with numerous Tern colonies and Seal haulouts. Today we make a late evening visit to the Storm Petrel colony on Mousa, a spectacular sight and sound show! Overnight Sumburgh.
Day 6 - Thursday SOUTH MAINLAND
If the Mousa trip went ahead as planned, we will have a later start, and a relaxing day gently exploring the South Mainland, including a seawatch at Sumburgh Head where we will see Puffins and other seabirds at close quarters, and have a chance of seeing Minke Whale, Harbour Porpoise and cetaceans, with Orca possible at this time of year. A visit to local freshwater and sea lochs should produce Red-throated Diver and skuas, breeding Whimbrel and Curlew, ‘real’ Rock Dove, Black Guillemot and Shetland Wren. We will also take several shorter walks around stunnings sandy beaches and headlands, checking sites for migrant birds too. Overnight Sumburgh.
Day 7 - Friday NORTH MAINLAND
Our last full day on Shetland, we head north, exploring the ancient old capital, Scalloway. Scalloway was home of the intrepid Shetland Bus operation, running covert missions to occupied Norway in the Second World War, but these days is the home of most of the fishing fleet. Heading north, we look in at the freshwater lochs of Tingwall before thoroughly exploring the north-west mainland. Here we will look at Urafirth, Hillswick, Ronas Voe and have a scenic walk and seawatch at Eshaness, where the Atlantic Ocean hammers into the stunning, rugged coastline. Nesting waders will be in great abundance today, along with the commoner small birds of Shetland. Overnight Sumburgh.
Day 8 - Saturday
After breakfast and depending on flight times, we should have a few hours to explore South Mainland, visiting the superb tombolo of St Ninian's Isle and exploring the Jarlshof archaeological site. We depart from Sumburgh to Aberdeen by air.
Please note: all itineraries are given as a guide only. Actual holiday content may vary according to the judgement of your guide, and elements beyond our control (eg weather). Disclaimer; in poor weather it may not be possible to deliver boat trips as stated, though we will do everything within reason to reschedule.
This holiday can be combined with:
High Season Across the Highlands, Birding the Highlands in May, Highlands & Corncrake.
Shetland in Spring for birders, Outer Hebrides in Spring, Southern Hebrides,