Lighthouses and cliffs: three Shetland walks

Our last few days in Shetland were spent at Busta House in the North Mainland. From there, we did three great walks, all featuring lighthouses and spectacular cliffs.

Esha Ness

Esha Ness Lighthouse
Esha Ness Lighthouse

From the lighthouse at Esha Ness, a circular walk takes you past multiple features. The deep, dark inlet of Calder’s Geo and Moo Stack:

Loch of Houlland and its broch:

The Hole of Scraada, a blowhole where the ground has collapsed. At one end, a burn runs into it; at the other a tunnel leads to the sea which appears dramatically 300 yards inland from the cliffs:

Dore Holm, a sea-stack with a huge natural arch, which is said to look like a horse drinking, and then back to the lighthouse (with the ubiquitous sheep):

Muckle Roe

Muckle Roe is a separate island, but it’s so close to the Mainland that you can reach it by a short bridge. There’s only one road, and when it ends a very pretty walk leads to the lighthouse.

Point of Fethaland

Fethaland is the most northerly point on Shetland’s Mainland. To get to the Point and its lighthouse, once again drive till the road ends and either follow the farm track or a coastal path (we went out by the former and back by the latter) before crossing onto an island via a spit of boulders and pebbles. Here, there are a dozen or so ruined fishing lodges used up until the early 20th century. On the way back, we visited the small churchyard of St Magnus with some unusual wooden grave “stones” – the one in the gallery below is for a two-year old boy who died in 1898.

And so ends our adventure on Shetland. Next stop – Orkney!

(This post is linked to Jo’s Monday Walks. Take a look for some round-the-world rambles.)


28 thoughts on “Lighthouses and cliffs: three Shetland walks

  1. Pit September 3, 2015 / 14:30

    Hi Anabel,
    Lighthouses have always fascinated me. It’s still on my bucket lict to one day stay in one that has been converted into a cottage or B&B. Years ago I saw a job offer connected with a forner lighthouse in San Francisco Bay, which would really have interested me. But since you were supposed to be a good chef to cook for the guests there it was out of the question for me. 😦
    Looking forward to your posts from the Orkneys,


    • Anabel Marsh September 3, 2015 / 15:40

      We once stayed in a lighthouse – the room was tiny! They fascinate me too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. K H September 3, 2015 / 17:10

    I love lighthouses and one day I will photograph, hopefully at least one. Just keep bringing me all these beautiful places so I can get ready for a trip. Love your blog!


  3. Birgit September 3, 2015 / 17:44

    You seem dangerously close to the edge in one picture:) I find it fascinating that people used to live in those lighthouse once upon a time. It looks like you had another wonderful walk and love cemeteries. The sheep is funny and looks like he is wondering why you want a picture of him:)


    • Anabel Marsh September 3, 2015 / 17:51

      There will be a truly scary close-to-the-edge picture coming up when I get round to writing up Orkney. I scared myself!


    • Anabel Marsh September 3, 2015 / 20:03

      Thanks Silvia! It’s a beautiful place to explore.


  4. cassam101 September 5, 2015 / 11:52

    Lovely photos once again Anabel. Yes one is scarily close to the edge. The writing on that old gravestone has lasted well.


    • Anabel Marsh September 5, 2015 / 17:58

      It has! Easier to read than the stone ones of similar experience age, that surprised me.


  5. jazzfeathers September 5, 2015 / 20:30

    Beautiful pictures. And so many lighthouses. What is it that it’s so magical abotu lighthouses?


    • Anabel Marsh September 5, 2015 / 20:36

      I don’t know, I find them fascinating too. The remoteness? I can think of some that are in towns, but still remote at the end of a pier.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jazzfeathers September 5, 2015 / 20:47

        Maybe. Maybe it’s this idea of the light in the dark that warns of a danger.
        I don’t know…

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Alex Hurst September 6, 2015 / 11:35

    Shetland looks like a beautiful place. I love the headlands… so much character! I used to live in Mendocino, California, and the cliffside was a lot like this, if not a little more gray than green. Are these areas only reachable by car? I’ll have to consider that if I ever want to go traveling on that side of the world!


    • Anabel Marsh September 6, 2015 / 12:48

      It is beautiful – and the green is a function of the climate! We were really lucky not to get much rain. It would be very difficult to explore without a car – these headlands are down tiny roads. We saw a coach at Eshaness but the others are reached by farm tracks.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Nadine Feldman (@Nadine_Feldman) September 6, 2015 / 13:44

    Hi, Anabel,

    I saved your blog for this Sunday morning as I sit in an airport waiting to board. It’s such a pleasant way to pass the time! Looks like we’re headed back to Scotland next fall, so we’re hoping to see some of these places when we get there.


    • Anabel Marsh September 6, 2015 / 19:08

      Oh, excellent! And hope you have / had a safe journey thus time, wherever you are off to.


  8. Su Leslie September 6, 2015 / 21:28

    Thank you for this lovely journey Anabel. I’m even more determined to travel to Shetland now!


  9. restlessjo September 14, 2015 / 15:48

    You did have a lovely time in Shetland, didn’t you, Anabel? And it looks like you tamed the weather- a good trick! 🙂 I especially love that sea stack. What a great shape (and a lovely photo!) Many thanks for your company and the link. I’ll be back soon but I can’t promise organised 🙂


    • Anabel Marsh September 14, 2015 / 15:52

      We did have a lovely time and we did have wonderful weather (though our luck broke down a bit in Orkney). Thanks for visiting, and I see you’ve tweeted too.


  10. Becky B September 29, 2015 / 07:33

    Really must go one day to the Shetlands – been on my ‘places to visit’ list far too long and when I see gorgeous photos like these I know it’s about time I got my act together!


    • Anabel Marsh September 29, 2015 / 08:28

      Highly recommended! If you don’t mind the cooler temperatures, you’ll love it.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. ledrakenoir September 30, 2015 / 19:08

    Very well captured – agree, so fascinating… 🙂


  12. Suzanne October 2, 2015 / 09:31

    How wonderful to visit such a remote part of the world through your blog. I love your photos. The blue of the sea is almost unbelievable. So beautiful.


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