Lerwick is the United Kingdom's most northerly town and Scotland's most easterly and is the capital (and only town) of the Shetland Islands, with about 7,500 people in town and half of the islands' total population of 22,000 living nearby. Lerwick is located about 200 km (125 miles) off the Scottish coast and was founded in the 17th century as a marketplace to service the Dutch herring fleets.
Many of the shops feature locally-produced products, especially sweaters and knitwear in the front of the store and yarn in the back.
We walk around the outer edge of the town, heading around the point, where the path winds through the fortifications originally built in defense of Lerwick Harbor. There are sailboats, sailing schools, and evidence of enjoyment of the sea everywhere. And, great stone houses overlook the sea in this northerly climate.
Located in the center of the northern shipping routes, Lerwick has been an important port and central meeting point for hundreds of years. The port has been attacked in several conflicts, including the American Revolution and the First and Second World Wars.
From the Broch, we continue walking around the Loch of Clickimin, past hillsides covered in purple heather, along the pedestrian path ringing the town.
We come to a road heading over the hill away from town and take it to see where we end up. At the top of the hill, we get a beautiful view back at Lerwick and run across a few sheep, who seem to be curious about how we ended up in their space.
The road descends and turns back toward the water, where we come upon a commercial fishing wharf, the ferry terminals, and the business park.
We loop back along the water into town, spot the sign to the Shetland Museum, and enter to find two floors of items donated by islanders to chronicle the history of their island.
We have one last stop on our way back to the ship, Fort Charlotte, which has stood guard over the bay for more than 350 years.
We've had a great march around the city and along the way did encounter a few other notable things: one street musician, one man walking his goat in town, and one enigma.
My Googling doesn't tell me what a "No Tipping" sign with a picture of a snail means when it is posted at the edge of the bay. Perhaps snail tipping is a popular pastime here?