Quiet back roads in one of the prettiest parts of Shetland.
Apart from the attractive scenery some of the most interesting things in this area are the prehistoric remains. The best of these is the Scord of Brouster settlement near Bridge of Walls.
The extent of this settlement, which contains many houses together with a temple, has assisted the archeologists in making sense of the site as a whole. Generally the site dates from the 3rd Millennium BC but it was occupied for a very long period and radiocarbon dating suggests that parts of it at have been occupied over one and a half thousand years. The climate of Shetland was rather warmer at this time.
This is one of the prettiest areas of Shetland with little lochans and islets scattered about. It also has an excellent network of quiet rural roads so is one of the best areas for cycling. As well as sheep you will see herds of Shetland Ponies, though by mid-summer sheep and ponies might look a bit scruffy as both will be losing their coats. Walls is the main centre and would be a good base for exploring.
At one time Walls was an important fishing centre but in common with a great many other places this has declined. There are several pre-historic remains around the Walls area and you are likely to come across these. We know very little about the ancient people who lived here around 1600BC and the associated explanations are partly informed guesswork.
The suggested route here takes you west out of Walls past Burrastow House Hotel then on to Mid Walls and Dale. At Dale there is an option of taking a short walk (about a mile) to go to the Voe of Dale. After this the route goes north-east to join the A971 where you turn right to go south-east. Near Bridge of Walls you can look at the prehistoric settlement of Scord of Brouster. This is one of the most complete neolithic settlement complexes in Shetland and recent excavations and radiocarbon dating have revealed some surprising information.
The other minor roads in West Mainland are well worth exploring. The area around Skeld is very quiet and has good views towards South Mainland and West and East Burra. Another option would be to bike north to West Burrafirth, from here you can take a ferry to Papa Stour but this only has a couple of miles of road.