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Shetlands Guide

A world where wildlife is truly wild, where otters and seals play in quiet coves, and the air is full of the sound of wild birds, crowding the jagged cliffs in huge and noisy colonies.

Being in Shetland is unlike being anywhere else, a fact that's evident from our unique culture, our dialect, our heritage, even our place names.

The beautiful and dramatic ice carved landscape is steeped in treasures of history that go back over 6,000 years.

Here are some facts about the Shetland Islands:

• Although only 15 are inhabited. The largest is called the Mainland and contains the Shetlands' capital Lerwick, which was built by smugglers.

• The 'Up-Helly-Aa' festival is a traditional Shetland festival held on the last Tuesday in January. It's the largest fire festival in the world and ends with a long procession through the streets of Lerwick that features the burning of a replica Viking galley. Only men can take an active part in the celebrations.

• The earliest recorded name for the Shetland Islands was 'Inse Catt', which means Islands Of The Cat People.

• Haggamuggie is an unusual speciality dish of the Shetland Islands that resembles haggis. It consists of the stomach of a large fish, stuffed with chopped fish liver and oatmeal. The ends are tied and it's boiled in salted water.

• The legendary 'Njuggle' is an evil water creature that's said to entice Shetland Islands people into the lochs and burns. It appears in many forms, however, it's favourite is a gentle looking horse. When people try to ride it, it plunges into the water to drown it's rider. 'The legend of the Njuggle' helped to stop young children from playing near water after dark.

• The Shetland Islands were once physically connected to Scandinavia up until the end of the last Ice Age, approx 8000 BC. It's believed that the Shetland pony is related to ancient Scandinavian ponies.

• On the 30th May 1903 the crew of a Shetland fishing boat allegedly witnessed a shocking sight near Burra Isle, a 30 foot monster rising out of the water. The crew and boat were undamaged, but ten of the boat's nets were destroyed.

• Robert Louis Stevenson's father designed the lighthouse on the Shetland Island of Sumburgh, one of 97 his family built around Scotland. The author allegedly got the idea for 'Treasure Island' after staying in the lighthouse.

• The Shetland Islands were part of Denmark until 1469 when they were given as a gift to Scotland as part of the dowry for the King Of Denmark's daughter.

• On the 1st January 1992 the wind in the Shetlands was measured at 194 miles per hour, which was the fastest wind speed recorded in the UK.

Here are just some places to visit in and around The Shetlands:

Unst Heritage Centre
Haroldswick Shetland
Shetland Islands ZE2 9EF
Tangwick Haa Shetland
Shetland Islands
Jarlshof Prehistoric Settlement
Sumburgh Virkie Shetland
Shetland Islands ZE3 9JN
Historic Scotland
Fort Charlotte Market Street Shetland
Shetland Islands ZE1 0JN
Fetlar Interpretive Centre
Beach of Houbie Fetlar Shetland
Shetland Islands ZE2 9DJ
Scalloway Castle
Staneydale Temple Broch of Burland
Shetland Museum
Fort Charlotte
Lerwick ZE1 0DJ

Scotland is packed with stunning countryside views, steaped in history and proud of its many traditions.
There really is something for everyone in Scotland and the BEST way to get the full experience is by camping.

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