West Mainland tour
Tours to Shetland's West Mainland are more flexible and are tailored more towards those who really want to get off the beaten track and explore Shetland on foot. More tour info is available on the website.
Stanydale Temple is set in the heart of Shetland’s West Mainland, a short walk which will take you into Neolithic Shetland as we visit this 4,000-year-old, heel-shaped megalithic structure – the only one of its kind in Shetland. Shrouded in mystery and intrigue, tucked into the empty landscape, archaeologists are still unsure what the purpose of this Neolithic/Bronze Age structure was. The heel-shaped façade, similar to that at Islesburgh (Delting) and Punds Water (Northmavine), but the size incomparable to anything else on a local level meaning that the function of this 4,000 wonder remains untold. The beauty, for any escapist like me, being that its function remains locked only in the imaginations of those who visit.
This walk is just a short distance over the hill from the road but walking boots are necessary as the ground can be wet and uneven.
(From the road, to discover and explore, I would allow an hour for the Temple visit.)
Culswick Broch is a fantastic example of these mysterious Iron Age structures; made from red granite and standing on a commanding position looking out to sea, it’s a spectacular sight to behold!
But what is a broch? A broch, in simple terms, is a round, stone structure which is constructed using two drystone walls – an inner and outer – with a staircase built between the two to reach the top. They date to about 2,000 years ago, the mid-Iron Age, and are unique to the north and west of Scotland. We have about 120 of them here in Shetland – most lie in ruin (and Mousa is the best example in the world. You can read about that here). Archaeologists still dispute what they were used for – whether they were defensive or offensive; or were they storehouses, or high status ‘manor houses’ of local chieftains? We don’t know. All that we can be sure of is that they are shrouded in mystery, and carry so much intrigue about past societies and how people lived and worked here in Shetland.
I wrote a blog about the walk to Culswick Broch which you can read here.
The walk is 3 miles (4.6 km) and will take about 3 hours to complete. Walking boots are necessary as the ground is uneven and can be wet.
Westerwick & Silwick
This is a great option for those who want big, uninterrupted sea-views that can really pack a punch. The west side is packed with lesser-known beauty spots and the cliffs at Westerwick and Silwick are among the best this area has to offer. With dramatic sea stacks and views across to the island of Foula, this is an area thats beauty will stop you in your tracks.
For this short walk, walking boots are necessary – as is a head for heights! I would allow an hour or two to explore this area and you’ll want to bring your camera!
Burn of Lunklet
The Burn of Lunklet is close to the village of Aith and is well worth a visit. It is easily accessible via a short path from the road which meanders up the side of the burn until you reach the impressive waterfall. This is a great place to also visit the Original Cake Fridge & Tearooms.
Walking boots are needed as some parts of the path can be wet and uneven in places. An hour is needed to enjoy the waterfall.
- Driver guide
Tour company information
Shetland with Laurie
Tour Guide operating in Shetland, offering sightseeing tours and walking tours throughout the islands. Blog: https://www.shetlandwithlaurie.com/podcast#/ Podcast: https://www.shetlandwithlaurie.com/podcast#/
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