Shetland: Hamnavoe and Tingon


Hamnavoe is the site of Eshaness’ main pier. It was also home to John Williamson, a weaver who had no medical training but devised a method of inoculation against smallpox and gave this to 3000 people who all survived. This earned him the name of Johnny Notion and his cottage is now a camping böd.


We parked a little way out of the hamlet where the track to Tingon leaves the road. This is next to the Giant’s Stones which are thought to have been part of a stone circle. The local myth was that the two stones were the head and foot of a giant’s grave. Here is the smaller of the two.
Walking up the track there are some great views over the small lochs and the coast. We met a woman feeding her horses who confirmed that we could walk alongside a wall down to the Warie Gill where there is a waterfall. Today this was just a trickle but we had good views over to the stacks of Muckle Ossa, Little Ossa and Fladda offshore.
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We then tried to make our way back down the coast to Hamnavoe. As this is a little-used route there is no path as such and only a couple of stiles over the fences. At one point, there was no stile over the fence to follow the coastline. While I spent my youth climbing over sheep fences, I now weigh considerably more and would not want to demolish one in the process so we diverted inland towards the road. Inevitably, I could not quite make the jump over a boggy section and landed in it while James managed to get over it s. Thankfully I was only ankle-deep and my camera was quite safe. Back at the lighthouse I cleaned myself and my boots up as James was complaining about the smell in the car on the way back.

That evening we headed back down the road, finally back to the two-lane bit to have our evening meal at Frankie’s Fish & Chips in Brae. It is the UK’s most northerly chip shop and won an award in 2015. One customer was wearing a skimpy T-shirt and shorts which I thought was a bit over the top as it was only 19 degrees. You can eat outside on the veranda but I thought it was too windy for that. The food was certainly worth the journey and I imagine it must be very busy in high season. The sun set that evening at 21.50 and it was still light after 23.00. James woke at 4.00 and looking out saw that it was light again.

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