Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Lerwick in the Shetland Islands

Lerwick is Britain'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.

 Approaching Lerwick

We get off the ship on the Esplanade and walk one block in to Commercial Street, Lerwick's main street of shops, bars, and restaurants.

 The Esplanade

 Commercial Street

Many of the shops feature locally-produced products, especially sweaters and knitwear in the front and yarn in the back.

 Knitwear shop

We walk around the town 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.

 Sailing and ocean activities

 Stone houses


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.

Around the point, we walk through a golf course and over to the Clickimin Broch, a dry stone tower built between 2,100 and 2,400 years ago for a powerful local ruler.  The tower was originally surrounded by water and accessed by a causeway, over which we walk.  Ducking and entering through the short, narrow passageways, we wander through the structure.  I raise my head too soon coming out of one of the passageways and bang it into a rock ceiling.  Time to move on to more open spaces!

 Clickimin Broch

From the Broch, we continue walking around the Loch of Clickimin, past hillsides covered in purple heather, along the pedestrian path ringing the town.

 Hilsides of heather

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.

 Road heads up, looking back at town

Company on the road

The road descends and turns back toward the water, where we come upon a commercial fishing wharf, the ferry terminals, and the business park.

 Fishing boats, ferry terminal

The road loops back along the water into town and we spot the sign to the Shetland Museum and enter to find two floors of items donated by islanders to chronicle the history of their home.

Shetland Museum

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.

 Fort Charlotte

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.

 Goat walker on Commercial Street

 Musician, 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?

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