4. Coastal Walking

To walk around, to a defined set of parameters, at least 100 of the 104 islands which, according to my calculations, have an area of c.4 acres (c.1.6 hectares) or more, and possess some green cover. With the exception of Horse Island, off Sumburgh Head, this target was achieved. A list of the 104 islands follows and is arranged in decreasing size order according to their acreage. The sizes given are approxmate but are useful when comparing island sizes. Below c.4 acres the popular idea of an island becomes increasingly less well defined as green cover gives way to bare rock on stacks and skerries, except in the more sheltered voes and sounds and on the higher stacks. The parameters used for this project were as follows: to walk on the beach; to remain within 1 to 2 paces from the edge of a low sea-bank or cliff, and up to 6 paces from the edge of the highest sea-cliffs; to go as near to the sea as possible on steeply sloping sea-banks; to keep to the transition line between bare rock and vegetation where severe exposure has resulted in large areas of unvegetated rock; to walk around all peninsulas of all sizes and which are cut off at high tide but accessible in shoes at low tide; and all tidal lochs which have an obvious connection with the sea. Also included are piers, jetties, marina breakwaters, and coastal defences. I have estimated my total coastal mileage at c.1,270 miles, based on my assumption that the 103 islands which I have walked around represent 75 per cent of the total Shetland figure of 1,697 miles. This assumption may be very inaccurate, but will serve as a guide to a more reliable figure when the mileage of each of the 103 islands has been ascertained.

My first serious coastal walk, specifically in connection with this project, was from the head of Whiteness Voe to Scalloway on 29 April 1993. Mainland was completed on 20 June 1999 at the Ness of Hillswick. The last long coastal walk was in Fair Isle on 15 August 2003, and my 100th island, Little Holm, in the Bay of Quendale, was circumnavigated the following day. Walking around the coastal areas of Lerwick and Scalloway was not repeated owing to my familiarity with those places over many years.

Mainland (243,360)
Yell (52,925)
Unst (29,930)
Fetlar (10,135)
Bressay (6,920)
Whalsay (4,880)
Muckle Roe (4,200)
Foula, (3,300)
Papa Stour (2,105)
West Burra (1,800)
Fair Isle (1,300)
East Burra (1,200)
Vementry (1,000)
Isle of Noss (760)
Vaila (760)
Hascosay (750)
Trondra (720)
Uyea, Unst (600)
Papa Little, St. Magnus Bay (510)
Mousa (445)
Housay, Out Skerries (445)
West Linga, W of Whalsay (315)
Hildasay, near Scalloway (255)
Balta, Unst (230)
Bigga, Yell Sound (200)
Samphrey, Yell Sound (190)
Linga, off Brae (160)
Bruray, Out Skerries (150)
Oxna, off Scalloway (120)
Papa, off Scalloway (120)
South Havra, S of West Burra (150)
Linga, off Gutcher, Yell (115)
Lamba, Yell Sound (105)
Linga, off Mossbank (105)
Brother Isle, Yell Sound (100)
Uyea, North Roe (100)
Grunay, Out Skerries (70)
Linga, off Walls (60)
Little Roe, Yell Sound (60)
Uynarey, Yell Sound (60
Urie Lingey, NW of Fetlar (55)
East Linga, E of Whalsay (50)
Egilsay, Mangaster Voe, Northmavine (50)
Haaf Gruney, SE of Unst (50)
Isle of Nibon, Northmavine (50)
North Havra, NW of Scalloway (45)
Fish Holm, Yell Sound (40)
South Isle of Gletness, South Nesting (40)
Cheynies (north), off Scalloway (35)
Colsay, South Mainland (35)
Flotta, Weisdale Voe (35)
Hoy, Weisdale Voe (35)
Huney, E side of Unst (35)
Isle of Stenness, off Esha Ness (35)
Isle of West Burrafirth (30)
Little Havra (30)
Lunna Holm (30)
Orfasay, S of Yell (30)
Lady’s Holm, Bay of Quendale (25)
Langa, off Scalloway (25)
Linga, off Scalloway (25)
Fogla Skerry, off Papa Stour (20)
Gloup Holm, NW Yell (20)
Greena, Weisdale Voe (20)
Grif Skerry, E of Whalsay (20)
Gruney, near the Ramna Stacks, N end of Yell Sound (20)
Linga, off Vementry (20)
Little Linga, Lunning Sound (20)
Muckle Holm, Yell Sound (20)
Skerry of Eshaness (20)
Daaey, NW of Fetlar (15)
Holm of Melby, Sound of Papa (15)
Mooa, E of Whalsay (15)
Nista, E of Whalsay (15)
Sanda Stour, off Scalloway (15)
Isbister Holm, E of Whalsay (13)
Sound Gruney, NW of Fetlar (13)
Horse Island, Sumburgh Head (12)
Score Holm, Lunning Sound (12)
Holm of Gunnista, Bressay (11)
Hunder Holm, Lunning Sound (11)
North Isle of Gletness, South Nesting (11)
Wether Holm, Yell Sound (11)
Wether Holm, Linga Sound, Whalsay (11)
Filla, Out Skerries (10)
Gruna, off Vementry (10)
Holm of Skaw, Unst (10)
Isle of Gunnister, Gunnister Voe, Northmavine (10)
Cheynies (north), off Scalloway (9)
Green Holm, off Scalloway (9)
Bruse Holm, Lunning Sound (8)
Green Isle, Dury Voe (8)
Holm of West Sandwick, Yell (8)
Fore Holm, off Scalloway (7)
North Benelip, Out Skerries (7)
Little Holm, Bay of Quendale (6)
Wedder Holm, off SE Unst (6)
Forewick Holm, Sound of Papa (5)
Holm of Papil, West Burra (5)
Crog Holm, Muckle Roe (4)
Holm of Breibister, Vaila Sound (4)
Ketill Holm, Lunning Sound (4)
Little Holm, Yell Sound (4)
The Heag, NW of West Burrafirth (4)