Walking in Shetland

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  • Looking across the grass to Brough Lodge and Tower on the island of Fetlar in Shetland
    Brough Lodge and Tower, Fetlar
  • Cliffs at Braewick, Mainland
    Cliffs at Braewick, Mainland
  • St Ninian's Isle connected to the mainland by a tombolo of sand at Bigton
    St Ninian's Isle
  • The Hams of Roe, Muckle Roe
    The Hams of Roe, Muckle Roe

Walking in Shetland is an experience like no other. Wherever you go in the region you will never be more than 5km from the sea, so you are bound to see the dramatic coastal scenery as well as its quiet inland lochs and gentle heathery hills offering some of the finest walking in the world. Discover countless routes that take in ancient historic sites and wonderful flora and fauna.

Get out and discover Shetland’s wondrous natural landscapes on foot. The region is a walkers paradise and this was recognised in 2011 when Unst was the first island in the UK to achieve ‘Walkers are Welcome’ status.

Follow one of the region’s many scenic walking routes taking in heather-clad hills, glistening sea lochs, spectacular coastal scenery and fascinating historical sites. Shetland is a Geopark where you can walk on an ancient ocean floor or explore an extinct volcano.

What better way to get some fresh sea air than a walk along some of its 2700km of coastline and 138 idyllic sandy beaches. You can even walk over to St Ninian’s Isle on the UK’s largest active tombolo.

With one of our selected routes you’ll experience the beauty of the region with your own eyes. Below is just a small selection of the many trails you can follow.

Find out more about walking routes, printable maps and GPS waypoints in Shetland.

  • Hermaness Circular 
    Distace: 8 or 12km; duration 3 or 5 hours
    Starting off in the Hermaness National nature Reserve, follow the way-marked path to the start of the long ascent to the top of Hermaness Hill, with its surrounding bog having over 7000 years of vegetation history. Enjoy stunning views from the top of the hill, particularly of Muckle Flugg and its lighthouse. On the descent from you’ll spot the colony of thousands of gannets on The Greing.

  • Eshaness Circular
    Distance: 6km; duration: 3 hours
    There are few places in Shetland that can rival the easily accessible Eshaness, either for scenery or historical interest. Along the walk you’ll come across the head of Calder’s Geo, where the sea has eroded a deep inlet along a line of weakness in the rock. Head north along the cliff tops enjoying the changing volcanic cliff features, and noticing the big loch to the east.

  • Culswick Circular
    Distance: 6km; duration: 3 hours
    This stunning walk on the west coast of Shetland enjoys spectacular views of a dramatic valley with a fine fresh water loch. Follow the trail to see glimpses of Loch of Sotersta and the high sea cliffs beyond, with standing stones visible against the distant horizon.

  • St Ninian’s Isle Circular
    Distance: 6km; duration: 3 hours
    Walk between two islands, Mainland to St Ninian’s Isle, on this amazing walk over the Uk’s largest sand tombolo. St Ninian’s Isle has some spectacular cliff scenery. The southern end is hard to match with scores of skerries and larger islands of Coar Holm, Inns Holm and High Herbi Clett dotting the shoreline. As you walk around this fascinating isle, look out for rocks and stones on grassland which have been cast ashore by angry winter seas.

  • Stanes of Stofast Circular
    Distance: 3.5km or 10km; duration: 2 or 5 hours
    This route offers either a short, or an option of a longer walk past one of Shetland's most dramatic inland glacial features. Following the track heading east through an ice moulded landscape past the Loch of Grutwick to Grut Wick. Pass the amazing Steens of Stofast and get the best known view of the fractured blocks, with one rock profile resembling a sphinx gazing out to sea.

  • Belmont to Lund
    Distance: 7km; duration: 3 hours
    Starting at the ferry terminal at Belmont, this linear walk incorporates some of Unst’s finest scenery and archaeological features. On this walk you’ll pass the ruined home of an Unst heroine, Grace Petrie who is famed for her daring rescue of the crew of a vessel in trouble in Bluemull Sound.

  • Hams of Muckle Roe Circular
    Distance: 14km; duration: 7 hours
    The Hams of Muckle Roe gets its name from Old Norse and translates as the Havens (or Harbours) of the Big Red Island. The stunning walk is made even more so on a clear day with fabulous panoramic view from Saxa Ford to Fitful Head.
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