• Your tour leader will collect you from Sumburgh airport and transfer you to Scalloway, the picturesque old capital of Shetland, where we stay for our first three nights.
    • Accommodation: Scalloway, Mainland, 3-nights on full board basis.
    • The south and centre of Mainland is probably the most varied part of Shetland for birds. Scalloway itself is a great place to look for late spring migrants along the tree-lines, streets and well-established harbour-side gardens. Sumburgh Head has good viewable seabird colonies and can be an excellent sea-watching site. Several lochs in South Mainland are superb habitats in themselves, and we shall visit several, including the RSPB reserve of Loch of Spiggie and the beautiful St Ninian's Isle.
    • An afternoon boat trip around the famous seabird colony of Noss promises to be one of the highlights of the week. One of the most spectacular seabird colonies in Europe, its cliffs hold over one hundred thousand birds of twelve different species.
    • On another day we can explore the dramatic coastline of the north of Mainland, where we search for moorland wildlife and visit the wild coastline of Eshaness, with its stunning array of rock stacks, blowholes and geos (narrow inlets).
    • A true highlight however will be being taken out in small numbers to search for otters. With our guide’s local knowledge and insights into the islands’ numerous but characteristically shy otter families’ behaviour and habits, he will endeavour to show us some of these stunning animals going about their daily activities along the tideline.
    • Weather permitting, on one evening we'll take a late boat trip to Mousa. This small island off the east coast of mainland Shetland is one of the best places anywhere to see European storm petrels as they return to their nesting sites in and around the famous Iron Age broch. We'll get back after midnight, when it will still be relatively light!
    • We travel on the inter-island ferries via Yell to Unst, the northernmost island. where we stay for three nights.
    • We visit the renowned National Nature Reserve of Hermaness, whose cliffs are home to more than 20,000 gannets and 50,000 puffins.
    • Also on our itinerary is a superb photographic detour to the famous Keen of Hamar moonscape, a post-glacial environment. Here we scour the low-growing, barren Arctic terrain for some incredibly rare plant species.
    • On another day we take the ferry to Fetlar, the greenest and most fertile of the Shetland Isles. Here whimbrel nest widely, and red-throated divers breed on the many lochs. We hope to encounter rare breeding red-necked phalarope in their stunning summer plumage as they feed unconcernedly on the surface of small lochans.
    • Accommodation:Baltasound, Unst, 3 nights on full board basis
    • Today we return south to the Mainland for a final night, so we are within easy striking distance of the airport. Our journey south gives us a chance to do anything we missed during our first stay in this area.
    • Accommodation: Scalloway, Mainland, 1-night on full board basis.
    • An early start should allows time for a final activity before we head to Sumburgh Airport at the southern tip of the island, where the tour concludes with our late-morning arrival.

All prices are per person and include:

  • Services of the naturalist leader
  • Transfers
  • Accommodation
  • Most meals
  • Guided activities

Accommodation

We spend the first three nights and our last night on mainland Shetland, staying at the Scalloway Hotel, and three nights on Unst, staying at a hotel in Baltasound. All rooms are en suite.

Meals

Meals are included, with the exception of breakfast and lunch on Day 7.

Birds

Remote Shetland is home to more than ten percent of Britain’s seabird colonies – amongst which are: a quarter of a million puffins, hundreds and thousands of guillemot, and gannet colonies with around 15,000 pairs. Wildfowl and waders throng the lochs, including whimbrel and red-necked phalarope.

  • Black guillemot
  • Northern gannet
  • Red-throated diver
  • European storm petrel

Mammals

Orca sightings are increasing each year, and we may be lucky this year. On land, we search for otters to photograph.

  • Otter
  • Harbour porpoise
  • Grey seal
  • Minke whale

Flora

The post-glacial, moonscape of the Keen of Hamar is an environment of barren, arctic terrain home to rare species, including Edmondson’s chickweed.

  • Frog orchid
  • Moss campion
  • Moonwort
  • Norwegian sandwort

Scenery

The most northerly part of the British Isles, Shetland is a rugged archipelago of islands and skerries, cut by myriad sea lochs and rocky peninsulas, with a landscape of rolling hills, scattered over which are crofts and countless freshwater lochs. We visit when the sun hardly sets, and nights are simply a long twilight.

Boat trips

Our tour includes three boat trips, which include a night trip to Mousa, home to European storm petrels. We also take the ferry to Fetlar, where whimbrel nest widely, and a trip around the seabird colony of Noss.

Photography

We visit some of the most stunning locations on the island, revealing the best of Shetland’s wildlife, where you can capture some special and memorable shots.

Ground transport

Flights to/from Shetland are not included.

Our leader will meet you at Sumburgh airport and transfer you straight to the Scalloway Hotel for the first evening. Depending on your arrival time, you may have to wait at the airport for a short while for others to arrive, as people will be arriving on different flights throughout the day.

Alternatively, you can join the tour at the hotel, a 40-minute taxi ride from Sumburgh Airport, or 20 minutes by bus from Lerwick.

  1. June 2016
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