“The winding voes and lakes of Clousetter, are wildly disordered by the irregular encroachments of the hills among which they run. Nature, from mere rocks and water, without the assistance of a single tree, has presented ceaseless varieties of interesting scenery.” ~ Samuel Hibbert (1818)
Clousta is an ‘old place’ – it has that sense, as if you’ve suddenly stumbled off the map. It’s a beautiful corner of Shetland’s West Mainland, inconspicuously tucked away somewhere between Eid (Aith) and West Burrafirth.
If you're looking to experience some of Shetland's incredible wildlife, you definitely need to add a trip to Noss to your list of things to see and do in Shetland. Joining Seabirds & Seals recently, I was able to 'act the tourist' for a morning and witness the incredible gannet colonies of Noss.
The experience is an astonishing spectacle – the natural world's equivalent of a teeming seabird apartment block, bursting with all the associated sights and sounds of one of Europe's largest gannet colonies. For this tour, you need look no further than Lerwick's Victoria Pier, where you can step onboard Seabird for a memorable boat tour around the islands of Bressay and Noss.
I know what it's like when planning for a holiday – so many questions and no one place where you can find the much sought after answers. I spend a lot of time answering questions online, whether on Instagram or my Patreon page. A lot of the time, it's the same questions that come up time and time again.
I've done several podcasts on my Patreon page that cover many of the frequently asked questions in depth (you can see the topics covered here). The following are some of the general 'top tips' I would give anyone planning to visit Shetland.
Sunday marks the first day of spring, and to mark this calendar milestone, I’ve been thinking about what makes spring such an exciting time of year and why you should consider a springtime break to Shetland.
As the days begin to lengthen and the dark grip of winter is slowly released, shadows shorten as the sun rises higher in our northern skies, and there’s real optimism in the air. There’s an urgency to the days as people begin to busy themselves in the garden, preparing the ground for growth and tidying up after a long winter of assault from the driving wind and rain.
Here are 5 reasons to visit Shetland this spring:
I woke on the night and heard footsteps – it was her – I nudged my husband and said, “ssshhh, can you hear her?”
I was on high alert, we were staying in the West Wing of Busta House Hotel, and I knew that this was part of the building she haunted.
Busta sits, tucked away on the shores of Busta Voe, just a few miles from the village of Brae. Today it’s a three-star hotel placed in an idyllic rural location in one of Shetland’s most beautiful historic houses, but it also has its own unique ghostly tale to tell.
Jarlshof, sitting at the southernmost point of Mainland Shetland, is a fascinating archaeological site spanning some 5,000 years, outlining the various stages of human habitation in the islands.
The site is complicated and complex, yet fascinating and awe-inspiring – in fact, this is my favourite site on the Mainland to guide visitors around.
Jarlshof is mind-blowing. It's a site that will immediately put you in your place. It has the power to ground you and make you feel like an insignificant speck in a moment in time.
I've picked out a few fun facts to help you understand the site on a visit – some of these are more serious than others! And, for ease, I'll present them chronologically!
If I had a penny for every time I was asked about winter in Shetland, I’d be a millionaire – and then some – and there are many reasons to visit, but you need to ask yourself first ‘what do I want from a visit’.
If the answer is puffins, light, activities, and long hikes with a picnic, you’ll likely want to visit in summer when the days are long, and the hills are dry enough to walk anywhere. If you’d like to feel the sting of the wind on your cheeks and the raw power of mother nature as you battle through the wind on a rugged headland before hunkering down in the evening with a good book and a dram, then you should consider the winter.
It’s no secret that winters in Shetland are long, dark and unrelenting. Many people move to Shetland believing they can handle it – they get darkness and poor weather in England too. Yet the darkness here is deeper, the wind blows stronger, the cold bites harder, and we’re not released from the grip of winter until well through spring. They say that spring arrives at a walking pace – so you can imagine how long it takes to trudge up here from London. It’s the unrelenting and often persistent onslaught of storm after storm that grinds people down – leaving us all longing for the bright emergence of spring.
St Kilda is a weather-beaten archipelago off the west coast of Scotland, some 40 miles from the Outer Hebrides. The cluster of islands sits alone in the vast expanse of the unforgiving North Atlantic. As Britain’s most remote point, it feels like the final frontier, a wild and foreboding place that looms from the horizon, echoing noisily with the sound of hundreds of thousands of seabirds. This is the land of the seabird. Yet until 1930, it was home to a population of resilient islanders who had occupied the islands for some 2,000 years. Evidence of the lives they carved out on this remote outpost of the British Isles are scattered all over the islands today.
A few months ago, during the school’s May long weekend, we headed north to the most northerly island of Unst to stay at Noosthamar – a picturesque self-catering holiday home overlooking the sandy shores of Burrafirth.
Unst is a two-ferry hop from Mainland Shetland and has a community of about 650 people. Getting to Unst is easy on the inter-island ferries that serve the isles and are operated by the Shetland Islands Council.
I recently posted our summer holiday bucket list; basically, a list of all the places we want to visit and things we’d like to do at home this summer. I included a checklist for anyone who wanted to join in the fun, and today we ticked off one from the list – a walk to the Brigs of Vementry.
To get to the Brigs of Vementry, follow the A970 from Lerwick, turning onto the A971 at Tingwall. Drive for 16 miles before taking the B9071 towards Aith and Voe. After three miles, take the turn towards Vementry (just after Michaelswood in Aith) and drive almost to the end of the road where you’ll find a cattle grid with a waymarker that says “Path to Clousta”.
Hello from Laurie
Hello, and welcome to my blog. I hope that you find what you're looking for - whether you're planning that perfect holiday or maybe you're from Shetland and looking for some 'home' inspiration. Hopefully, there is something here for everyone.