Discover the fascinating history of Shetland's ancient people at the extraordinary Old Scatness Broch and Iron Age Village. Situated on the South Mainland, Old Scatness is an archaeological site dating back over 5,000 years. During the summer months Old Scatness Visitor Centre is open and you can take a guided tour and see the Living History craftspeople at work. Experience what life was like in the replica Iron Age and Pictish buildings, sit by the fire, play Kubb or perhaps try your hand at the days' activities. The shop sells gifts inspired by some of the finds from the site, and many local craftspeople supply exclusive merchandise.
Situated just next door is the Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement, one of the most important and inspirational archaeological sites in Shetland. This extraordinary site has a complex of ancient settlements which cover more than 4,000 years of human history, including late Neolithic houses, a Bronze Age village, an Iron Age broch and wheelhouses, a Norse longhouse, a medieval farmstead and a 16th century laird’s house. Spend time in the fascinating interpretation centre which houses a hands-on display of local materials traditionally used on site including wool, stone, slate and bone. Visitors can also learn all about prehistoric life and the history of the site.
From there take the scenic drive on the A970 to the village of Hillwell, where you will find the Quendale Mill. Refurbished to match the exacting standards set by the original craftsmen, the mill is a wonderful example of Shetland’s industrial heritage. Visitors to the mill are can take a tour and enjoy exhibits of life in the mill and displays of photos, artefacts and memorabilia from the history of Shetland.
Continue back on the A970 and take the short drive to the picturesque coastal village of Boddam, where you can pay a visit to the Shetland Crofthouse Museum. A perfectly restored example of a 19th century Shetland croft house, the museum effectively recreates the accommodation that would have been typically used by an extended family unit of grandparents, parents and children. Designed to withstand Shetland’s harsh weather conditions, the living quarters, byre and barn would have been accessible all under one roof. Smell the peat fire burning in what was called the ‘but end’ – the kitchen and living area – and see the handmade box bed and bunks the ‘ben end’ or bedroom. There is also a lovely garden outside with a path which leads to a restored watermill.