Orkney & Shetland 2019 - Day 21

Shetland to Unst by road and ferry


Shetland has many islands, you can reach the larger ones by ferry and most of these take cars. A recommended route is to arrive in Lerwick, drive north to the ferry at Toft and cross to Ulsta on the southern tip of Yell. The tour guides then tell you to drive at a good pace the length of Yell to get the next ferry from Gutcher to Belmont on Unst. We did this, but first we saw more of the northern part of Shetland.

The Yell ferry departs about every 30 minutes, except when we arrived just after the 1245 departure. The next saling was 1355 so we parked by the ferry terminal and had our lunch. A few cars arrived so we joined the queue. Once on board we paid the £20 for a return trip, not realising this paid for all four ferry trips to and from Yell and Unst. It is the best value ferry we have met. Once on Unst we took our time to look at ancient sites then looked for the Baltasound Hotel. The hotel is an old stone structure, but some years ago has had three blocks of wooden cabins added. These were now showing their age and the ravages of the climate. Nonetheless our room was clean and comfortable enough.

Road from Lerwick to Baltasound

The road north climbs and winds around rocky hills, peaty slopes and numerous small lakes and lochs. The soil is poor and most slopes are peaty and covered in heather. The islands of Yell and Unst are similar.

The road north from Lerwick.
Hotel in the middle of nowhere - we were assured they do the best fish and chips in Shetland! But 11am was a bit early for lunch.
Heading into Eshaness
The road to Eshaness Lighthouse
Eshaness Lighthouse
The coastal cliffs
Stenness Beach
A curlew - we saw many of these.
Coastal view near Burnside
The North Isles - we are on the right road afterall...

Onto the ferry to Yell and Unst

The view from the ferry as you cross from Toft to Ulsta on Yell
The view is better whent hey raise the bow...
And let you drive off.
The road north on Yell.
The ferry to Unst.
The ferry name is wring - "Bigga" is smallest ferry we sailed on.
Ummm... I think we need lane 2.
What to do on Unst. We did nearly all of these!
Ah.. another broch!
I was amazed. This most remote place and they have a sign about tephra layers in peat!!!
Where the Viking longhouse stood.
That was a broch....
And this is the view it had.
Another standing stone.
Heading north.
How did that London bus get here? (Drove, I suppose.)
The Baltasound Hotel.
Baltasound Harbour.
Sunset 9.15pm.

We arrived at the Baltasound Hotel in the late afternoon in brillant sunshine. We were given a comfortable cabin adjacent to the stone building. The cabin had seen better days, the floor by the door had rotted but the heater worked and the shower produced tolerably warm water - although there was not much of it. The bar served Unst Breweries beer - yes the "bere" beer that was advertised at Jarlshof on the Shetland Mainland. It was a nice beer too! The food was good, not an extensive menu but what would you expect at the most northern hotel in the UK. But the waiter... we named him Manuel. He was Hungarian and this was his first day on the job! He had a lot to learn, but he was keen and I am sure that by the end of the summer he would have been quite accomplished.

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Last updated: 30/06/2019