A feast for the senses, the sounds and sights of Hermaness are full of drama. The white tops of the waves complement the white staining on the cliffs where sea birds nest every year. Gannets glide past, searching the waves relentlessly, and then diving into the water at breakneck speeds. Puffins waddle from their clifftop burrows in early summer and, away from the bustle of the cliffs, great skuas and red throated divers nest in the open moorland.
Overlooking Muckle Flugga, Britain's most northerly point, Hermaness National Nature Reserve provides a haven for thousands of seabirds. Managed by Scottish Natural Heritage, this remote island reserve offers a dramatic cliff-top setting in which to view an incredible array of birdlife.
Located about an hour’s walk from the car park, the cliffs are home to numerous nesting seabirds including fulmars, gulls, shags, gannets, puffins and kittiwakes. The route to the cliffs is along gravel path and boardwalk, traversing sensitive peatland habitat consisting of heather, crowberry, cotton grass, mosses and other vegetation. In the summer months, this is the home of the great skua, locally known as ‘bonxie’, which nests on the moorland. The coastal edge is a riot of colour in spring, with blue carpets of spring squill giving way to deep pink as thrift comes into flower.
By Public Transport: Daily bus service runs between Lerwick and Haroldswick, 3 miles from the reserve but does not allow sufficient time to fully explore the Reserve and get back in a day.
By Bike: National Cycle Network Route 1 (Aberdeen - Shetland) terminates at Firth on the Shetland Mainland. To continue to the Reserve by bike, carry on to Toft for the ferry to Yell (20 minute sea crossing). Continue on the A968 to board the Gutcher - Belmont ferry to Unst (10 minute sea crossing). Head 10 miles north through Baltasound, turning off just before Haroldswick onto the B9086 road signposted to Burrafirth and Hermaness. At the fork in the road go straight on to the reserve.