I was hosted by McKinlay Kidd, who specialise in self-drive short breaks and holidays in Scotland, on a Shetland flydrive holiday for 4 nights 26 – 30 May 2010.Â McKinlay Kidd arranged my flights from Edinburgh to Sumburgh (in the south of the Shetland Mainland), a taxi transfer from the airport to the Bressay ferry terminal in Lerwick on arrival, car hire for 3 days, two centre accommodation on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis, a spa treatment and a boat trip to Noss Island.
I was sent a pack around one week before departure with my full itinerary containing the flight times and booking reference number, a map, contact phone numbers (including a 24 hour emergency contact number), ferry information, hire car and boat trip vouchers and some suggestions on things to do on the Shetland Islands.
My first 2 nights were spent on the island of Bressay, which lies east of Lerwick, the islands’ capital.Â My flight arrived a few minutes early so I was able to catch the 20.00 ferry to Bressay.Â Â I stayed at the Northern Lights Spa Guest House.
View from my guesthouse window on the island of Bressay, Shetland Islands
I went on a boat trip to the isle of Noss on the morning of the 27th of May.Â I was feeling a bit nervous about this as I’m not a great sailor, being inclined to feel queasy when I leave terra firma.Â Fortunately it was a beautiful, calm sunny day when I was picked up at Bressay pier.Â There was so much wildlife to observe and photograph.Â We entered a sea cave on Bressay and live footage from the sea bed was transmitted to the TV screen on board, with amazing quality colourful underwater life such as star fish and sea urchins.Â Â As we made our way along the cliffs we saw loads of gannets on the cliff ledges, guillemots (which looked like mini penguins to me), puffins and terns.
Gannets on Noss Island, Shetland Islands
One of the other passengers on the boat trip asked the skipper how often whales and dolphins were spotted.Â About five seconds later I spotted a fin, it seemed like too much of a coincidence but I told the skipper, who cut the engine and a couple of minutes later a minkie whale surfaced briefly.Â Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a photo.Â I disembarked at Lerwick harbour, where I was picked up to collect my hire car.Â The heavens opened that afternoon, so after a wet wander around the shops, I decided to return to my guest house in Bressay by ferry.
The next morning I was heading north on the main island and did a circuit around the Sandsting Peninsula passing the Scord of Weisdale to Reawick, Sheld and Wells before checking into the Busta House Hotel for my final two nights.
Wells, Mainland, Shetland Islands
The next morning I set off for the north of the main island and the Eshaness Cliffs, with a stop at the Braewick Cafe.. The cliffs at Eshaness are amazing, if you park at the lighthouse there’s a coastal path you can follow.
Eshaness Cliffs, Mainland, Shetland Islands
I then drove to up to North Roe and Ibster (where the road ends).Â Before returning to my hotel, I crossed over the bridge to the island of Muckle Roe, driving to Little Ayre, where there’s a footpath to a beach.
View from the bridge to Muckle Roe Island, Shetland Islands
As Shetland airport is in the far south of the island, my final day was the ideal time to explore this area.Â My first stop was Scalloway on the west coast.Â The taxi driver who picked me up on arrival in the Shetlands had recommended St Ninian’s Isle.Â As I drove down I was stunned by the white sands and colour of the sea. The beach is the largest tombola (beach with sea on both sides) in the UK and is the link to St Ninian’s Isle.
The beach linking St Ninian’s Isle to the Mainland, Shetland Islands
I always aim to be at the airport two hours before my flight departure time, after a couple of near misses in the past.Â However, there’s plenty to see within a mile of the airport including West Voe beach and the Norse settlement at Jarlshof.
West Voe beach, Mainland, Shetland Islands (airport terminal in top left of photo)
I had a wonderful time on my Shetland flydrive trip.Â I was very lucky with the weather, only having one afternoon of rain and few odd showers during my four day stay.Â The natural beauty of the islands takes your breath away.Â It was great to have everything organised for me and know that I’d be staying at quality accommodation.Â It was reassuring to have a 24 hour emergency contact number.Â Fortunately I didn’t need to use this as everything went so smoothly.
I was very happy withÂ the standard of accommodation and food served in both my lodgings.Â One of my main requirements from accommodation was that internet connection was available.Â The wifi in both my lodgings was very good which was a relief as I’ve stayed in several hotels on the UK mainland who claim to offer wifi but the signal is so bad that you can’t get connected.Â The accommodation is personally selected and vetted by Robert Kidd, MD of McKinlay Kidd, so clients can be sure of good lodgings.Â Flying from Edinburgh or Glasgow to the Shetland Islands takes around 90 minutes, so a Shetland flydrive is an ideal way to get the most from your Shetland holiday, as you do really need a car to get around the islands.