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 through grassy moorland from the visitor centre, the cliffs at the old lighthouse shore station are home to numerous nesting seabirds including fulmars, gulls, shags, gannets, puffins and kittiwakes. During the summer months, the moorland becomes a carpet of blue, as spring squill comes into bloom before turning a deep pink with the arrival of flowering sea pinks. Heather, crowberry, bog bilberry, mosses and other vegetation can be seen growing at this time of year along with great skuas, or ‘bronxies’ as they are locally known, soaring overhead. Although most of the seabirds depart by autumn, gannets can still be seen and grey seals are often sighted reclining on the rocky shore.
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 right to the visitor centre and straight on to the Reserve. There is no pavement between the car park and the Reserve entrance.