Fair Isle

Fair Isle

Fair Isle ranks with Foula as the most remote inhabited island in Britain, and this is a tiny community which is still thriving. Lying almost equidistant from Sumburgh Head on Shetland Mainland and North Ronaldsay in Orkney - around 40km from either - this tiny island actually packs a variety of scenery, with towering cliffs and wild moors rising up to Ward Hill, but verdant green fields too. The coastline is simply stunning, from the amazing Sheep Rock to an uncountable number of natural arches and stacks - home ground for massive seabird colonies including several gannetries and some of the most trusting puffins you'll encounter.

The iconic bird observatory burned down in 2019, but there are plans to rebuild it and maintain the almost legendary status of Fair Isle amongst keen birdwatchers. The island is known for sightings of rare migrants, you can never be sure what you might see. But Fair Isle is perhaps even better known for its knitwear; Fair Isle patterns have travelled across the world, but it's only here that the genuine article is produced by a small cooperative of knitters.


Walk Grade Length Time
Fair Isle North Lighthouse & Observatory grade6km 2 hours
Ward Hill, Fair Isle gradegrade4.25km 2 - 3 hours
Malcolm's Head and Sheep Rock, Fair Isle gradegrade12.75km 4 - 5.5 hours
The Complete Fair Isle explorer gradegradegrade15.75km 5.5 - 7 hours

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Walking can be dangerous and all walkers must take personal responsibility for their own safety. You should always carry a backup means of navigation and not rely on a single phone, app or map. Walkhighlands strives to provide accurate information but cannot accept responsibility for changes, errors or omissions.