Unst is home to many stunning sites and interesting heritage. Below is just a selection of what you can see and do, just a short distance from Shorehaven Cottage.
Muckle Flugga Lighthouse
Built in 1858, Muckle Flugga is the United Kingdom’s most northerly lighthouse. The lighthouse is perched on the highest of a series of skerries just off of the north shore of Unst. This 64ft brick tower, with foundations 10ft deep, stands 200ft above the sea. Before construction could start, steps had to be cut into the rock, allowing all building materials to be carried to the base. The former lighthouse shore station at nearby Burrafirth has a small visitor centre, with information on the Hermaness National Nature Reserve. From the point of Herma Ness there are excellent views of the skerries and the lighthouse. Summer boat trips to Muckle Flugga run from Burrafirth.
Hermaness National Nature Reserve
The reserve, which is managed by Scottish Natural Heritage, is home to one of Europe's most remarkable seabird colonies, with over 40,000 pairs of Gannets and one of the largest Bonxie (Great Skua) populations in the world. Guillemots and Razorbills also nest here on the enormous, vertical cliffs and this is also one of the best places in the United Kingdom to get close to Puffins.
A considerable area of Hermaness is covered by peat moorland where birds nest among the heather. These include Golden Plover, Dunlin and Skylarks. An array of beautiful flowering plants, including Tormentil, Bog Asphodel and orchids can also be view. The cliff ledges in particular, provide spectacular floral displays, as sheep are unable to graze on them.
Unst Boat Haven
Unst Boat Haven, open from May to September annually, is dedicated to the maritime history of Shetland boats. A selection of 17 boats are on display, primarily traditional Shetland ships, however, there are some from further afield, including Faroese and Norwegian boats vessels.
As well as the boats, there is plenty more to see. There are models, old tools, fishing gear, documents, photographs, charts, historical information and a whole lot more.
The United Kingdom’s most northerly brewery was opened in 1997, and takes its name from the Hall of the Norse god Odin, where fallen Vikings are met in the afterlife with a horn filled with fine ale. The brewery moved from its original premises in Baltasound, to a building at the former RAF Saxa Vord station, close to Haroldswick, where it has doubled production up to 144,000 litres a year. Tours of the brewery are available on request, during which the fascinating beer-making process is explained in great detail by the brewery’s owners.