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Shetland Islands reviewed by Big Willie
Shetland Islands (Scotland)
Member Name: Big Willie
Shetland Islands (Scotland)
Date: 10/03/06, updated on 17/03/06 (121 review reads)
Advantages: You are never more than three miles from the sea
Disadvantages: Getting here is expensive
Shetland is 60 degrees latitude north and over a 150 miles north of Scotland.
It is green and mostly low lying with many smaller islands dotted around it's coast.
Vikings: The name Shetland comes from Hjaltland which means hilt land in Norn the ancient viking language because the islands form the shape of the hilt of a sword.
The viking culture is still very prevalent here. This can be seen in the fact that there is a fire festival in which a viking longship is burnt every february at a festival called up helly aa. Longships and dragons (there is a famous Shetland dragon called Big Willie) are used in the logos of many of the local companies and many of the place names can be traced to the viking language eg the capital lerwick means muddy (ler) bay (wick).
Before the vikings Shetland was known as thilensee to sailors and is noted by ptolemy as the legendary thule when it was one of the only places in the atlantic to have copper mines.
In the 1970's oil was found here and as a result education and roads etc are very good for an island of this size.
You can reach shetland by travelling from aberdeen by boat or plane. You can also travel here by plane from edinburgh, glasgow and stansted. Many cruise ships also dock here in summer carrying over 20,000 passengers.
Best food is local lamb from Globe Butchers and fresh fish from Blydoit and the locally grown neaps, kale and tatties are good too.
Best beach is meal beach on the westside or levenwick beach in the south.
Best wildlife are puffins and the occasional whale.
There are also fantastic rock formations, local fiddle music and the smell of peat smoke fires coming from traditional croft houses as this is one of the only places in the world where peat has been sustainably cut.
There are few trees because around the bronze age they were all cut for fuel. Since then the sheep and weather have prevented new ones from growing.
Wildlife is mostly adapted for island life and some creatures you won't find on Shetland are moles, squirrels, foxes, badgers and deer.
Summary: The Shetlands Islands are a northerly but beautiful place
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