The most northerly island in Scotland, Unst is only 12 miles by 5 miles and has a population of about 700 people. The friendly people are very welcoming to visitors and eager to show off their scenic home. There are beaches of sand, steep cliffs, panoramic views of the ocean and a wealth of wildlife and flowers. Two nature's preserves in Unst, Hermaness and the Keen of Hamar are the breeding ground for more than 25,000 puffins. The high cliffs are actually teeming with over 100,000 birds during the summer months. It is believed that Robert Louis Stevenson based Treasure Island on Unst and there is a startling resemblance between the maps of the two islands.
The famous Shetland pony comes from Unst. These coloured ponies are bred on the island and many of them are prizewinners throughout the Shetland Islands. The most northerly rock is the Outstack, but the northern part of the island is home to Muckle Flugga. This lighthouse was built in 1858.
As you travel around the island and visit the small towns and villages you will get a good idea of what life is like in this remote area. Tourists revel in the beauty of the flowers that bloom in the valley of Norwick. The beach in Norwick is one of the most photographed beaches in the world and you will easily see why when you visit.
Haroldswick is another town on this island where you can get valuable information about the history of Unst. At the Unst Heritage Centre, you will see the permanent displays depicting life as it once was on the island, samples of knitting and provide a wealth of information for anyone looking for his/her family history. You just have to visit the Boat Haven with its historic Shetland and Scandinavian boats and fishing artefacts. The most northern post office in the country is also in this town and the address reflects that. Most visitors like to send mail back home from here as a souvenir.
At Burrafirth, the Loch of Cliff, the largest on Unst, is the prefect location to enjoy some serious fishing. The Rounds of Tivla are located at Crussafield. These are three concentric banks that date back to the Bronze Age. When on vacation you have to take time out from exploring for relaxation. The Unst Leisure Centre has a heated swimming pool where you can take a dip and float about for a while.
You have to take in some music and dancing because this is a very important part of the Unst heritage. Fiddles and accordions provide lively music and there are musical events held at various times of the year.
Accommodations abound at Baltasound, Westing, Uyeasound and Haroldswick. Choose an efficiency cottage, a guesthouse, bed and breakfast or a hotel. There are plenty of lodgings to choose from where you will find it so comfortable; you'll hate to leave.
Some photographs © Graeme G Storey ShetlandTourism.Com