A strange post this one about Shetland because it is the story of a journey dreamed but never really done by my friend Letizia Tassinari, who, having the terror of travelling by plane and worried about many aspects of being in a foreign land, often as children, travels with fantasy. Since I fell in love with Scotland after my last trip, I wanted to publish this dream of hers because it is so beautiful that it seems real.
Trip to Shetland Islands
Everything comes from the film, the television series “Shetland” set in the Scottish archipelago and broadcast on the Yellow TV channel. From episode to episode there is a growing desire to visit those icy and uncontaminated islands of the North Sea in person.
So I embarked, alone, for an adventure without equal. A dream trip to a “remote” place, too beautiful, I would say unique, full of mystery and charm. Wild nature, meadows and fjords, sheer cliffs and stormy seas, a mix of Scottish and Norwegian culture.
For those like me who are afraid of aeroplanes, it is no “walk” to Shetland. But the train, my travelling companion when I was a “little girl”, is the right alternative, even if it is almost endless and with many changes. You start from Viareggio, you cross the enormity of France and once you cross the English Channel – the fear of being under the sea made you grow anxious – you reach England, then Scotland.
The train, after having crossed the FIFE with its cliffs and barley for whisky production, leaves us in the city of Aberdeen, the port from which we board the Northlink Ferries ferry, the only company that connects Scotland to Lervich (capital of Shetland) 7 days a week, sea permitting, with a crossing that lasts about 12 and a half hours.
Two days of sailing to the Shetland Islands
The boat trip takes a couple of days on the road but in the end, after crossing all of Europe, the UK and the North Sea, the spectacle that presented itself to me is definitely spectacular and worth it.
The TV series that so much fascinated me faithfully represents the places, they are like that also in reality and not only in fiction. Falling in love with this corner of the world is a moment, certainly not for those looking for fun, nightlife and chaos, sunny beaches and life in pareos and flip-flops.
Strolling on the pristine beaches with my Lapo, the Dalmatian who accompanies me everywhere or drinking a pint of beer in the small pub in Lervich is the kind of holiday I am looking for and being a person who does not like the heat, the Shetland climate also has its charm for me.
Fair island and its observatory
During my short stay, I did not miss to visit Fair Island, the “tiny” Scottish island (only 5.61 km², with about 70 inhabitants), known to host the observatory of birds and destination of ornithologists from all over the world. A “lost” place, without a town centre, without pubs, without shops, with only one road through it, where rain and wind, often accompanied by fog, are the boss, and where connections, by sea or by small planes leaving from Tingwall airport (which is only a few minutes from Lervich) are sometimes at risk (even in summer).
Finding the sun in Shetland is not impossible! Fair is a small island where silence reigns, and peace, where there is no public transport (actually you can walk around it well), but there are 2 churches, a post office which is also the only “shop”, a small school and a small hospital which is actually a medical clinic.
Shetland Islands where they are
Shetland is a Scottish archipelago in the North Sea, 80 kilometres from the Orkneys and 280 kilometres from the Faroe Islands (Norway). The largest island, known simply as Mainland, is the third largest island in Scotland and the fifth largest in the British Isles; in addition to Mainland, the archipelago consists of 15 other islands all inhabited.
With their rugged, almost inaccessible charm and wonderfully isolated location, the Shetland Islands boast a unique landscape. Kilometres of breathtaking coastline interspersed with pristine beaches and crystal clear blue waters are a paradise for many species of birds. Clear lochs, endless heather-covered moors that turn the hills purple, to the majestic towering cliffs sculpted by thousands of years of erosion of wind, water and sand. Peace and tranquillity with a rhythm of life marked by nature, this is Shetland.
Shetland Islands and its breathtaking landscapes
But do you want to put the landscape? Cliffs and pastures. Unspoilt nature in the North Sea – and peace – prevails above all else. Living here is for those who love silence and immensity.
Up Helly Aa – The Feast of the Sacrifice of Fire
I’d love to go back to Shetland! Maybe during the winter, also to watch the Viking festival and the sacrifice of fire, the Up Helly Aa (an event, which due to the Covid, will not take place in January 2021), with the cold and icy winds, very few hours of light and the Northern Lights.
Just as I would like to move to live there forever: I could also publish a book and become a famous writer: a pc, in front of the fireplace, in the long and cold winter, bacon, eggs and jams for breakfast, salmon and soups for lunch and dinner (whisky no, I don’t like it ..) and walks in the nature enjoying the view.