Unst, Yell and Fetlar

Unst, Yell and Fetlar

Unst is the most northerly inhabited island in Britain - the last outpost before the sea stretches away towards the Arctic. It is justly famed for the great cliffs and spectacular seabird colonies of Hermaness, but that isn't the island's only National Nature Reserve, as there is the Keen of Hamar too, known for its remarkable plants. There's a great variety of scenery on Unst, with superb sandy beaches such as at Sandwick as well as the dramatic cliffs including the Horns of Hagmark - and the latter name reminds of the island's rich Norse heritage.

For many visitors, Yell is simply a stepping stone they drive through en route to making their pilgrimage to the far north, but the impression of bleak moorland given by the main road is misleading. Turn aside and begin to explore and you'll find Yell to easily equal Unst for walks. The Sands of Breckon is simply the best known of its beaches, and the walks on the east coast are unmatched as places to see otters.

The smaller Fetlar doesn't deserve to be forgotten or ignored; it repays exploration by all walkers and not just those looking for its rare phalaropes at the Funzie RSPB reserve. Deserving of special mention is the eastern coastline with its fine cliffs and natural arches.


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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.