Think you know everything there is to know about Shetland? Here are five fascinating facts you might not know about this archipelago…
Shetland has a strong Norse heritage due to its historical ties to Viking settlers. The islands were part of the Norse Kingdom of Norway until they became part of Scotland in the 15th century. Today, you can still see the influence of the Vikings in Shetland’s culture, place names, and annual events like the Up Helly Aa fire festival, which celebrates Shetland’s Norse heritage.
Unique Pony Breed
Shetland is home to the famous Shetland pony, a small but sturdy breed of horse that has captured the hearts of many worldwide. These ponies are known for their strength and resilience, which developed over centuries of living in the challenging Shetland environment. Shetland ponies have become beloved symbols of the islands.
Shetland is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. The islands are a prime location for birdwatching, with numerous seabird colonies, including puffins, gannets, and kittiwakes. You can also spot seals, otters, and even killer whales in the waters surrounding Shetland. It’s a fantastic destination for nature lovers.
Shetland holds some interesting geographical records. It is the northernmost part of the United Kingdom, making it closer to Norway than mainland Scotland. The island of Unst, within Shetland, is the northernmost inhabited island in the British Isles. Additionally, Muckle Flugga Lighthouse on Unst is the northernmost lighthouse in the UK.
Shetland experiences a unique natural phenomenon known as the “Simmer Dim.” This occurs during the summer months when the sun barely sets, leading to an extended twilight period. It’s a surreal and beautiful experience, allowing for extended daylight hours for outdoor activities, including Shetland’s vibrant summer festivals.
Discover the most exciting things to do in Shetland in this month’s The Scots Magazine (CLICK HERE)