Shetland: Hillswick and Tangwick

In addition to the St Magnus Bay Hotel, Hillswick has a community shop where we picked up a few items and I found some sea glass on the small pebble beach on the Ura Firth side while James was posting the postcards. It also has the headquarters of the Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary based in a building which was built as a trading booth in 1684 and then became Shetland’s oldest pub. We then walked past the old graveyard, through a field of sheep, stepping over run rigs and down onto West Ayre beach. You can walk all around the Hillswick Ness (about four miles) but we just walked part of the way up the hill where there are views across Sandwick to the Heads of Grocken. We only met one other person who was continuing to walk around the Ness.

Fulmars nest on the cliffs.
After wandering on the empty beach for a while we hopped back into the car to drive to Tangwick. The Northmavine Museum is here in the late 17th century former laird’s house. It also holds the local archives and has various exhibitions in addition to permanent displays. On our visit the exhibition was on shops, many of which had disappeared as the area suffered depopulation, people acquiring cars and travelling to Brae and Lerwick and more recently, internet shopping. In addition to Hillswick, the shop at Ollabery is also a community shop. There is a self-service mini-café at the museum and after getting the caffeine levels up it was time to wander down to the beach here.

There were birds feeding on the shore and a pair of Eider ducks on the water. Several grey seals were lying on a rock and one was in the water looking at me, trying to decide whether to come ashore. Even when I retreated, he stayed in the water.

We met a German woman who was planning to walk all round Eshaness the following day and had decided upon a great place to camp in the shelter of the abandoned building on the bay. On the way back to the lighthouse we discovered that it is not just sheep who wander on the roads around here.

One thought on “Shetland: Hillswick and Tangwick

  1. What blue skies and sea, and the picture of those birds is especially frameworthy. It strikes me as bittersweet how the area has been affected by cars, internet shopping, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

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