Shetland: A favourite place.
When you’ve got a good few years as a guide for Wilderness Scotland behind you, it is inevitable that you’ll being to harbour ‘favourite’ parts of the Highlands and Islands. Places that bring you back time and again.
For me, with more than a passing personal interest in the natural history of these wild areas, the one place on the annual itinerary that always got me itching for the guiding season to start was the Northern Isles, and Shetland in particular.
Those long daylight hours of the summer, what the Shetlanders call the ‘Simmer Dim’, when the sun barely drops below the horizon, also happen to be the time of the great seabird spectacular. Millions of gulls, skuas, auks, waders, cormorants and shags pour into these islands from March onwards, ready for the busy breeding season. It’s not all birds though – Shetland is one of the wildlife hotspots for sea mammals, and also brings botanists from all over Europe to its flower-filled shores!