Tranquility in Remote and Beautiful Shetland
‘The Garden of Shetland’
Fetlar is one of the Northern Isles together with Yell and Unst. It is the smallest of the three but is the greenest and most lush hence it’s name, The Garden of Shetland.
As mentioned, it was believed that the Wick of Gruting on Fetlar was one of the first Viking settlements on Shetland but other early signs of settlements are the The Haltadans stone circle by Skutes water and the Viking boat burial at Gord which was featured in the Time Team but has since been covered up. Easier to find is the magnificent Brough Lodge, the Nicholson family home, which you can see when approaching the ferry terminal. It is no longer inhabited and care should be exercised if looking at it.
There are wonderful marked walks all over the island. A favourite is the hike from Tresta beach along the headland of Lambhoga, opposite The Lodge, which will reward you with wonderful views of the island together with a multitude of seabirds nesting on the cliffs.
Or the circular walk from Everland to Gruting which takes in the ruins of the lairds house at Smithfield, and the unusual Round House where you can still see the remains of the beautiful pillars and capitals of the Nicholson summer folly.
Fetlar is a must for bird watchers. Most famous is the red necked phalarope but you can also see snipe, curlew, redshank, lapwing and teal at the Mires of Funzie. Red-throated divers can be seen on the various lochs. Areas around the reserve hold whimbrel, golden plover, Arctic terns, Arctic and Great skuas ( bonxies) and a large variety of waders. There are also puffin breeding on the cliffs and out to sea, together with kittiwakes, eider duck, fulmars and oystercatchers.
If you are lucky along the shoreline and in the waters around Fetlar you will encounter otters, seals, dolphins and even whales, Minke or Killer.
The Interpretive Centre at Houbie opposite The Lodge is a mine of information on the island, past and present. It gives daily updates on the local wildlife that has been spotted and has leaflets on local walks. It includes a section on Watson, Leagarth and its gardens together with the other lairds of Fetlar.
The island is well served by ferries from Yell and Unst and there is a good shop, close to The Lodge and Peerie House.
The island hall, just up the hill from the Leagarth estate, is open on Saturday nights and runs various community events throughout the year.
The church at Tresta has monthly services and also has an exhibition space inside the church.
There is a nurse’s clinic also based at Houbie, just up the road from The Lodge.
To find out more please visit www.fetlar.org