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Wildlife Adventures – The Shetland Isles

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Price from: £1,195

Next trip: 7th May

Duration: 6 night(s)

View prices & departures

Location: Orkney and Shetland Isles

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 2

14 review(s)
  • Experience the diverse landscapes and fascinating wildlife of Scotland’s most northerly islands
  • Be amazed by the prolific birdlife at Sumburgh and the heritage of the Vikings at Jarlshof
  • Enjoy the very best local produce and cuisine while staying in one of Shetland’s best and most unique hotels

Green Graded Wildlife Holidays 1-3

All of our wildlife trips are graded Green and involve straightforward hiking with no major ascents, as well as other activities which are pitched at novice level. You can expect to be active for around 5 hours each day so you will need a reasonable level of fitness. Please note that there may be some early starts and late nights as we seek to maximise our chances of finding wildlife, although you can always opt out of activities if you prefer an early night or long lie in the morning!

So to help you decide if you are fit enough for this kind of trip, ask yourself:

  1. Are you generally active and, for example, happy to hike for 6 miles (10km), including some ascent, with rough ground in places?
  2. Are you up for a challenge and trying new activities such as sea kayaking or boat trips?
  3. Are you looking for a wildlife trip which involves more than simply sitting in a hide?

Accommodation on this trip is at the wonderful Busta House Hotel, well regarded as the best hotel in the Shetland Isles.

Busta House, located on the shore of sheltered Busta Voe on mainland Shetland, blends history, romance and intimacy with an attention to detail which makes for a perfect stay. The house was built during the 16th, 17th & 18th century and is steeped in history u2013 it is even said to have a resident ghost!

The house has a beautiful garden, and comfortable lounges to relax in with their premium wines and whiskeys before retiring to your bedroom after a day out in the wilderness.

The bedrooms at Busta House are all named after islands around the coast of mainland Shetland and are individually decorated to give each a unique character. The rooms are all en-suite and have direct-dial telephone with modem port.

A limited number of single rooms are available – early booking is recommended for these rooms. The supplement for having a single room is £225. If you are travelling on your own but don’t need a single room, we will arrange for you to share with another client of the same sex.

At Busta House, food, especially Shetland produce, plays a major role in your experience. Shetland Hill Lamb, Free Range Pork from Unst, Fresh Seafood from all around the islands Muckle Roe Mussells, Hallibut from Bressay, Yell Sound Scallops, Organic Salmon from Unst and, most recently and a world first, organically farmed Cod from Johnson Sea Farms at Vidlin. Even their milk and butter are locally produced, along with cream & ice cream. And where they find that consistently high quality local produce is not available in the quantities they require, they don’t have to travel far – Orkney beef and Cheese are also world famous, and you’ll soon understand why!

To access the remote Shetland Isles, which are located far to the north of Scotland, clients have two options for traveling there:

Option 1 – Fly to Sumburgh Airport on Shetland. Direct flights are available from London, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness. The busiest route is from Aberdeen, which has several flights each day. For flight details, see www.britishairways.com Please fly in at least a day in advance of day 1 of the trip. If you are looking for somewhere to stay in Lerwick, then please contact us for a list of accommodation options to Lerwick from the airport.

Option 2 – Travel by ferry to Shetland along with our guide. Ferries depart from Aberdeen most days and this is an overnight crossing, arriving in Lerwick at approx 7.30 am the next day. The following morning you willl make your way to the Shetland hotel with the guiide to meet the rest of the group at 9.30 am. For ferry timetables are fares, see www.northlinkferries.co.uk

If you travel to Shetland by ferry from Aberdeen, you will meet our guide at 8pm at the reception area on board the ferry on the evening you depart. The following morning you enjoy a short coastal walk before travelling south to Sumburgh in the afternoon to meet any clients who have flown to Shetland. Upon booking the trip, please confirm whether you will travelling to Shetland by ferry or plane.

For more information on getting to Scotland see our Travel to Scotland section.

Customer Kudos

Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made holiday with us.

Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.

That's why we read each of our client's reviews and although we don't respond to all of them, if it's glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your holidays truly memorable.

5 star 11

4 star 3

3 star 0

2 star 0

1 star 0

by David Morris 27/07/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Just carry on doing what you're already doing.
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
The Busta House hotel was excellent. Friendly staff and good food.
Your Guide
If you had a category for better than excellent I'd tick that.
The Bottom Line
Our leader Graham went above and beyond the call of duty and showed us more than anyone could reasonably expect. Does the man ever sleep?

by Claire Gratton 18/06/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Easy to see what we would be doing on the website
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
the food at Busta was superb and the nights we went out were fabulous too
Your Guide
very knowledgeable, informative and had a very easy manner great fun to be with
The Bottom Line
Very good, it was our first group activity holiday and we would do it again.It was lovely not to have to plan every day and just sit back and enjoy the planned trips, no map books or getting lost!!

by Sharon Newman 17/06/2015

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
my friend arranged everything through her travel agent so it could not have been easier for me.
Trip Comments
Our guide was superb. He paced outings for the participants and was full of interesting stories and knowledgeable about natural history.
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
John was one of the best guides I have had over my years of outdoor travelling.
The Bottom Line

by Hugh Rothero 11/06/2015

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Fine - concise - no problems there
Trip Comments
There was nothing untoward as the trip went smoothly and the weather was good to us really, with the Shetland wind clearing the showers quite quickly. The boat trip to Noss was good as the sea was smooth. Trip to Unst was very interesting too.
Accommodation and Food
The Busta House Hotel was superb in every way, helped of course by the superb staff.
Your Guide
John Ormiston did a great job with our group with his versatility and knowledge, he even made geology sound much more interesting to me, and the group I imagine
The Bottom Line
It was my first trip with Wilderness Scotland and hope it wont be my last. Am thinking about Orkney or the Outer Hebrides for the near future, so hope to be back

by Ann Paton 08/06/2015

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Very helpful staff both on telephone and e-mail: much appreciated.
Trip Comments
Hotel (Busta House Hotel), activities (coastal walks, bird-watching, basic geology, wild flower identification, visiting brochs and croft house, boat cruise round Bressay and Noss, walking to view Muckle Flugga lighthouse, visiting Shetland Museum, climbing Rona's hill), and the guide himself (John Ormiston) were all superb. I really enjoyed the week. The other members of the group were also good company.
Accommodation and Food
Buster House Hotel was a very high standard: a lovely building in such a remote spot; the food was good; and the staff were welcoming and helpful.
Your Guide
John was very good company; extremely knowledgeable; full of energy and enthusiasm; careful not to exhaust the group(!); and took us to many fascinating and sometimes quite remote parts of Shetland which I personally would not have been able to find and visit in the time available. He was just excellent in every respect.
The Bottom Line
I loved it. I knew very little about Shetland and I found the holiday an enchanting and memorable experience.

by Jane Williams 09/06/2014

4Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

4The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Liked the informality of the emails. You always responded quickly and answered all questions. I was reassured from day 1 that I would be well looked after.
Trip Comments
Wonderful 13 hour day to Muckle Flugga with so much packed in it would be hard to ever forget.

Thanks to Gatwick security, the most awful travel experience to get to Shetland, sadly causing me to lose 3 days of my holiday.
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
Warm and friendly but my head was reeling for 5 days with all the knowledge he imparted and I was determined to digest! Fortunately I had a notebook to help the brain remember everything! I really appreciated his kindness in lending me his binoculars for the whole trip. Graham taught me a wonderful awareness of all things around me that grew, flew, sang, swam or just looked beautiful.
The Bottom Line
Have already mentioned Wilderness Scotland to several people.
Best Moment - can't say. I loved it all. I had been told in advance that in Shetland - it always rained - you were bitten by midges - the beaches were not special. We had no rain, but some lovely sun - there are no midges on Shetland - I doubt there are many more beautiful beaches in the UK. I will no longer listen to other peoples opinions.

by Judith Norcross 05/06/2014

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
I have walked with Graham on another wilderness trip which was also terrific.
In Shetland his knowledge of the islands and the wildlife really made this a holiday to remember. Thank you Graham.
The Bottom Line
After several previous visits to Shetland I already was familiar with the Islands but this trip really added to those experiences and now I can`t wait to go back again.

by Luisa Ferrari 17/08/2013

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
The Bottom Line

by Jill Powlett Brown 13/08/2013

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

3Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
In particular, it was very helpful this time to receive information about the meeting point and Graham's contact details.
Trip Comments
There were many highs - seeing otter, the variety of birds, the beautiful wild landscape and of course the weather!
The low point is the accommodation: from your description of Busta House as "wonderful ... well regarded as the best hotel in the Shetland Isles" I anticipated something far better than we experienced (see a fuller description below).
Accommodation and Food
The hotel was a big disappointment. Its interior appearance is tired, especially the bar and restaurant areas; as a single traveller I am used to being allocated poorer accommodation people who share, but
my bedroom looked on to the steps leading from the carpark to the hotel entrance so I had to close the curtains whenever I was in the room to prevent people looking in.
The standard of service also lets the hotel down - I would describe this as haphazard. Staff were for the most part willing, but would benefit from skills development and better leadership/management. For example, I had to ask on one occasion for my breakfast order to be taken, and then waited for 15' for a bowl of porridge; on an evening that we had requested dinner sharp at 6.30 they forgot to take our orders and there was a further delay while the table we had been given was changed for one that would accommodate the 5 of us. My final bill was wrong, with charges partially itemised and partially not, and showed that accurate records had not been kept.
For me, the was not great either - although others enjoyed it, I felt it was bland and tired, and the portion sizes were far too big.
I appreciate that group accommodation is not easy to find on Shetland, but I feel that a more accurate description of the hotel would be "over-rated and over-priced". I would be cautious about recommending this wonderful holiday to others if this was to remain your hotel of choice.
Your Guide
Graham was an absolutely wonderful guide; passionate and vastly knowledgeable about the natural history of Shetland in particular, he also brought the social and cultural history of the islands to life in a special way. As a small group, we benefitted from his willingness to build some flexibility into the itinerary so that we had an opportunity, for example, to visit Papa Stour. And he patiently answered the dumbest of my many questions so that I learned a huge amount from him. He made this trip magical for me.
The Bottom Line
So many inspiring moments ... the power of the sea, seeing the merlin hunting on Papa Stour, the Viking mills, the music.
But I would counsel caution on the accommodation!

by Cherri Moseley 08/07/2013

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

4The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
I was disappointed to lose a day of the holiday because my flight was unable to land at Sumburgh. It was turned back due to fog at Sumburgh. This is apparently a frequent occurance at this time of year, but no mention was made of this when I discussed travelling.
Trip Comments
Would have liked a rest day from walking mid week, though much depends on what is available locally for that to be a success. Walking just a little more than I would like.
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
Graham was a superb guide. He went the extra mile, always! He was so knowledgeable about all aspects of wildlife. Nothing was too much trouble.
The Bottom Line
Mousa Broch at midnight, hearing and seeing the storm petrols. The sunset, light until gone midnight.It was beautiful, serene, magical. The fact that this dwelling was over 2000 years old etc etc

Prices and Departures

32 people viewed this trip in the last week

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
7th May - 13th May 2016
£1,195
1 place(s) left
16th Jul - 22nd Jul 2016
£1,195
6 place(s) left

Trip Details

Join us on an unforgettable journey to the Shetland Isles, a little-visited archipelago of more than 100 exposed islands lying far north of the Scottish mainland, as close to Norway as they are to Scotland.

People have worked the land and sea around Shetland for 5000 years, leaving a mysterious legacy of ruined forts, ancient houses and standing stones.

In the company of your highly knowledgeable guide you will gain privileged insight into the unique history and natural world of Shetland as you explore the varied landscapes of these isles on day hikes to their wildest and most dramatic places. Here, you will experience the incredible wealth of birdlife, marine life and wild flowers that in the wild places of these intriguing islands.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – Walking in the Shetland Isles

Travel to Shetland and meet your guide for this walking holiday in the Shetland Isles. We drive north to the little island of Muckle Roe where we enjoy a stunning coastal walk to North and South Ham.

Day 2 – Coastal Walk on Shetland Isles

One of the best coastal walks in Shetland is found just a short drive north of our hotel at the superb headland of Eshaness. Here we will explore the fascinating coastal scenery around the Villians of Ure, the Grind of the Navir and the Holes of Scraada.

Day 3 – Jarlshof and Bird Watching on Shetland

We visit Jarlshof pre-historic site and a walk to Sumburgh Head RSPB Reserve for some birdwatching. We enjoy a wonderful coastal walk with excellent views of sea bird colonies including gannets, auks and bonxies. Whales can also be spotted offshore. If time permits, we will explore the Ness of Burgi Stone Age Fort.

Day 4 – Walking on the islands of Yell and Unst

Travel by ferry to the islands of Yell and Unst where we walk to Muckle Flugga, the northern-most tip of Britain and the world’s largest bonxie breeding colony at Hermaness.

Day 5 – Bird-watching cruise to Noss & Bressay

The cliffs of Noss and Bressay are a haven for seabirds. In one of the world’s prime locations for bird-watching, the Noss National Nature Reserve is home to 20,000 Gannets, 25,000 Guillemots, 3,000 Kittiwakes, 1,200 Puffins and hundreds of Razorbills, Black Guillemots, Shags and Skuas. We’ll enjoy a cruise round the spectacular cliffs in what is sure to be a highlight of this trip.

Day 6 – Walking up Ronas Hill: Shetland’s highest peak

Today we head into the most northerly part of Mainland Shetland, climbing through an Arctic landscape to the summit of Ronas Hill, Shetland’s highest peak at 450 metres.

Day 7 – Coastal Walk on St Ninian’s Isle

Back in South Mainland we head over the tombolo to St. Ninian’s Isle for great views out to the island of Foula, before heading into Lerwick for a short walk around The Knab.

Please note that the itinerary above is an intended programme only. The order of daily walks / activities may be amended and alternative routes may be selected at the guide’s discretion. A limited number of single rooms are available – the single supplement is £200 per person.

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Prices and Departures

32 people viewed this trip in the last week

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
7th May - 13th May 2016
£1,195
1 place(s) left
16th Jul - 22nd Jul 2016
£1,195
6 place(s) left

Trip Photos

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Trip reviews

Customer Kudos
Our leader Graham went above and beyond the call of duty and showed us more than anyone could reasonably expect. Does the man ever sleep?

David Morris
27/07/2015

5

Very good, it was our first group activity holiday and we would do it again.It was lovely not to have to plan every day and just sit back and enjoy the planned trips, no map books or getting lost!!

Claire Gratton
18/06/2015

5

Rated 4.8 out of 5 based on 14 review(s) of Wildlife Adventures – The Shetland Isles

5 star 11

4 star 3

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