St Ninians Isle
St Ninians Beach, the beautiful sand tombolo that links the South Mainland of Shetland to St Ninians Isle. St Ninians Isle, made famous by its Pictish treasure hoard from the 8th Century that was discovered by Douglas Coutts. Douglas, a Lerwick schoolboy, was on the first day of his school holiday and went to help at the excavation of the 12 Century chapel. He came across a box and when opened, it revealed 28 items of treasure.
The treasure found on the 4th of July 1958, is thought to have belonged to a Pictish person of some wealth. There were 12 Brooches, several bowls and part of a porpoise jaw. The originals are in the Scottish Museum in Edinburgh, and excellent replicas are in the Shetland Museum in Lerwick.
Croft House Museum
Visiting the Croft House is always a fascinating experience for many. Situated in a beautiful idyllic spot, it takes us back to what life was like in earlier crofting years.
Most noticeable will be the smell of the peat fire as you approach and also the smoke coming from the chimney. The fire would always be the heart of the home, providing warmth and light for the family.
Entering through a very low doorway, where you have to be careful not to bump your head, you will be transported back in time, where life carried on with very basic essentials.
No trip to the South Mainland of Shetland is complete without stopping in the passing place to count the seals on Rerwick Beach. When the sun shines in Shetland - this is possibly one of the most beautiful spots to view.
In Shetland, we have two different types of Seals, we have Common Seals and also Grey Seals, adorable and curious creatures. Common Seals have their young in July time and Grey Seals late October into November. The Grey Seals are born with thick white fluffy coats and will loose that after three weeks or so before being able to head out to sea.
From Rerwick Beach the clear waters of Shetland are very visible. Shetland has pristine waters around the islands which make it very popular with divers and wildlife.
It is a multi-period archaeological site covering 5000 years and one of the most important in Europe.
When Sir Walter Scott saw it early in the 19th century, all that was visible was the remains of the tallest building, but 100 years ago remains of earlier buildings were exposed during a stormy winter in the late 1800s after wind battered the island.
The landowner John Bruce started to dig and found a number of structures which were later confirmed to be prehistoric. In 1925 he handed the site to the government who through Historic Scotland still care for it today.
Jarlshof was excavated in the 20th century in chronological order with the earliest Neolithic remains dating back some 5000 years ago.
It would have been an excellent place to settle with shallow waters offering a place for boats to anchor, fertile ground for farming and animal grazing with freshwater springs nearby. There was a local supply of flat building stone which was ideal for building homes.
Sumburgh Head is home to the puffins during the summer. They return to the cliffs to breed during the summer months and in mid-August will return to the sea for the winter.
Sumburgh Head is often described as being an apartment block with so many varieties of birds living at all different levels. We have Shags, Kittiwakes, Razorbills, Fulmars, Puffins and Guillemots.
If wildlife is not your thing then even looking at the geology and seascapes will satisfy your senses.