St Ninian’s Isle – Shetland

St Ninian’s Isle


St Ninian’s Isle in Shetland is a small uninhabited Island which is linked by Britain’s largest natural tombolo about 17 miles South West of Lerwick and 9 miles from Sumburgh at the southern tip of mainland Shetland.

The sheer natural beauty only becomes apparent as you gently wind through a small hamlet called Bigton and it is unveiled before you like a picture postcard.  That moment literally takes your breath away with powder white sands and clear turquoise seas either side of a natural windswept sandbar.

A gentle stroll across the 500-metre sandy walkway takes you to the Island which is steeped in history.  A hoard of silver objects was discovered here in a wooden box buried under a slab marked with a cross in July 1958 by a schoolboy who was taking part in excavations of the medieval Church that used to exist on the Island.

You will find plenty of sheep, seals, birds and wildlife in abundance with easy (free) parking to allow you to explore the area and absorb the beauty and peace around you.  It is easy to get lost in yourself here and forget about anything else as you wander aimlessly with hardly a soul around.

This is one of over 100 beaches around Shetland that offers unique and unparalleled views and scenery that are often yours alone to enjoy.

The beauty of the Islands is matched by the friendly and welcoming locals who know and understand the true meaning of hospitality.

You can travel to Shetland by air and sea, with a flight from Edinburgh taking about 1.5 hours at a cost of £200 – £300 return at fairly short notice.

An overnight sailing from Aberdeen to Lerwick via a stop in Orkney takes about 12.5 hours with Northlink Ferries

Ferry fares are graded on Low, Mid and Peak rates depending on the season with fares split as separate costs for passengers, vehicles and accommodation.

The driver is not included in the price of the vehicle.

Low Season – 7th January to 23rd March and 1st November to 17th December
Mid Season – 24th March to 14th June, 1st September to 31st October and 18th December to 6th January (to include Christmas and New Year period)
Peak Season – 15th June to 31st August

An example of a peak fare is;

Passenger – £68 return
Car (< 6m long) – £240 return
Bed in shared outer 2 berth cabin £118 return

Total cost = £426

Please note that the dates above are based on the 2019 online timetable.

Excellent B & B accommodation can be found around Lerwick at about £40 a night.

Shetland is remote and this is clearly reflected in the costs of getting there.  Quality doesn’t come cheap and Shetland is a place like no other.  You will find peace, scenery, tranquillity and a warm welcome everywhere and it will leave a lasting impression on you for years to come.

You can read my Note on Shetland here