Attractions in the centre of Shetland
NestingTen miles north of Lerwick the Nesting Loop' side road (B9075) winds through an intricate landscape of sheltered inlets, scattered crofts and bold headlands. There are scenic surprises around every corner, making a pleasant detour from the main A970 road over the moors to Voe. Catfirth, the site of a naval air station during the First World War, is a fine spot for watching sea ducks and waders. The Catfirth and Quoys burns, both popular with anglers, have relicts of the woodland which covered Shetland thousands of years ago - willows, rowans and one of the islands' only two surviving hazel trees.
A couple of miles north of Billister, the crofting township of Laxo lies on either side of the Laxo Burn, a famous beat for sea trout.
Vidlin lies on Vidlin Voe, a sheltered inlet with a marina for local boats at its head. This settlement has an Iron Age broch buried beside the present Methodist kirk.
DeltingThe road from Voe to the large modern village of Brae follows Olna Firth past modern shellfish farms and an old whaling station from the 1920s. Brae, on the shores of Busta Voe has good social and shop facilities, including the North Mainland Swimming Pool.
Beyond Busta is the crofting island of Muckle Roe, linked by a new bridge to the mainland. The Hams of Roe, a deserted settlement set among spectacular red granite cliffs at the north end of the island, is a favourite destination for walkers.
A Location for Wildlife WatchingMuch of the coastline offers a natural gallery for observing wildlife, common and grey seals can be seen along the rocky shores. Common seal pups born in June are able to swim within a few days unlike the grey seal pups born in October who stay on the beach for a month prior to entering the sea.
Lochs and streams provide fresh water, essential for coastal otters to wash the salt from their fur. Soft peat banks conceal their holts or hadds, where otters rest, shelter and breed. The birdwatching is superb - gannet, guillemot, kittiwake, fulmar and puffin can be seen along the coastline - while migrant birds such as pied wagtails, waxwings, redwings and various geese alight here.