"Visit Shetland's most northern frontier and follow the trail of the Vikings."
Unst & Yell
A day trip to Shetland's most northerly frontier, Yell and Unst, can be arranged. Getting to Unst involves two ferry crossings and we can build the day around what interests you most.
Getting to Unst is easy, and Shetland has excellent internal links operated by the Shetland Islands Council, including a fleet of inter-island ferries that run between nine of the 16 inhabited islands. Ferries to Yell and on to Unst are frequent, and booking is not always necessary but is recommended. You can view ferry timetables and book via the SIC's ferry services website.
Edmonston's chickweed, Keen of Hamar, Unst
In Unst, we get a real sense of Shetland’s geological journey from somewhere south of the equator to its current 60°N position. Take a walk over 500 million-year-old rocks that once formed the ocean floor and look for the famous Edmonston’s Chickweed, endemic to the lunar-style landscape of the Keen of Hamar Nature Reserve.
On the Viking trail
Visit the replica Viking longship, Skidbladner, and reconstructed Viking longhouse at Haroldswick and find out more about Shetland’s Norse roots. On this tour, we can take an in-depth look at Shetland's archaeology and Viking history.
Reconstructed Viking longhouse at Haroldswick, Unst
Shetland – and Orkney – were once part of the wider Viking world and many of the Norse influences can still be observed in Shetland today, mostly in the place-names they left behind with strong Norse connotations. Norn, a form of Old Norse, was spoken in Shetland until about 300 years ago. Today, many of the dialect words still in use have their roots in the Old Norse language that was spoken here at one time.
The Vikings are thought to have arrived in Shetland from western Norway between 800 and 850 AD and subsequently settled, giving rise to what is known as the Norse Period. Both Shetland and Orkney became Viking, and later Norse, strongholds until 1469 when the rule was passed over to Scotland, bringing a close to over 600 years of Norse rule.