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Walking in the Land of Giants and Trolls...

The following walks are taken from the book, 'Walking the Coastline of Shetland 'Walking the Coastline of Shetland No.4 - Northmavine' by Peter GuyNo.4 - Northmavine' by Peter Guy and are reproduced with his kind permission and best wishes. You can buy the book for £9.99 from the Shetland Times Shop in Lerwick or online.

"This most northerly part of mainland Shetland offers dramatic cliff scenery, abundant wildlife and notable pre-historic sites. There is also the chance of climbing Ronas Hill, Shetland's highest. This guide describes routes to suit every level of walker and is a mine of information on the area past and present." Shetland Times

Dr Mortimer Manson (1932) said of Northmavine, "The whole land is suggestive of giants and trolls and makes walking a matter of interest and excitement." Peter Guy suggests that the "red rocks, precipitous cliffs, hills and voes all remain visible; giants and trolls, trows and trowie asleep in the hill?brooding spirits of ancient gods can no doubt be summoned in the imagination by us all..." If you look very carefully when you are out walking, you may just catch a glimpse of a trowie asleep in the hill....

Photo © Hans Stöteknuel




Circular Walk B - Ness of Hillswick

Arches, stacks, and cliff scenery. Beautiful displays of wild flowers in midsummer, variety of birds including bonxies. If you're lucky you might see an otter! The old traditional lighthouse at the point has gone to be replaced by a rather ugly automatic one.

5 miles (8km) 3 hrs

OS Maps:
Landranger Sheet 3 Shetland - North Mainland
Pathfinder Sheet HU 27/37 Hillswick

walk - Ness of HillswickThe walk starts at the Booth, the vegetarian café and seal sanctuary in Hillswick, and follows the coastline in a clockwise direction, going away from the shore to look at Neolithic ruins. These are at the Loch of Niddister (a notable burnt mound), the remains of a chambered cairn and the homestead site at Grevasand.

The views from the lighthouse (now a modern structure) at Baa Taing, and of the Gordi Stack and the Drongs are all memorable.

A walk not to be missed and, although the hotel in Hillswick is presently closed, refreshments can be had at the end of the walk at the Booth Café (open May-Sept) or hot drinks can be purchased at the Hillswick Shop.






Circular Walk F - Collafirth/Ronas Hill summit/Collafirth

6 miles (10km) 3 hrs

OS Maps:
Landranger Sheet 1 Shetland - Yell & Unst or
Landranger Sheet 3 Shetland - North Mainland
Pathfinder Sheet HU 28/38 Ronas Hill

walk - Ronas Hill summit

A return walk from sea level to the top of Ronas Hill 1475 ft (450m).

From the junction of the A970 and the road up to Collafirth Hill it takes about half an hour to reach the former army buildings and masts at the top of Collafirth Hill. The tarmac road runs out here so one can bring a car this far and park it here. Another hour's walk via Man O'Scord and the cairn on Mid Field will bring one to the summit of Ronas Hill, where there is a cairn-protected trig point. To the SW is a well-preserved chambered cairn into which one can crawl. Descend by the same route as the ascent.

Other walks
  • Hillswick and Braewick - secluded beaches, seabird cliffs and superb views of the sea stacks, The Drongs.

  • Heylor out to the mouth of Ronas Voe - for some of the most beautiful cliffs in Shetland and fine view of the pink granite massif of Ronas Hill.

  • North Roe to Fethaland - where you can see the ruins of summer bothies once used by 19th century fishermen who rowed and sailed open boats up to 40 miles from land.

  • Sand Voe to Uyea - a grand walk with plenty of seabirds and seals.

  • Nibon to Stenness - a Shetland landscape in miniature, ending in the great shingle beach of Stenness, another 19th century haaf fishing station with remains of fishermen's bothies.

  • Mangaster - a pretty bay with a lovely view of the isle of Egilsay and one of Shetland's best-preserved, prehistoric heel-shaped cairns.

  • Gluss Isle and Bardister, near Ollaberry - a sheltered spot on a windy day and a good place for shorebirds, seals and otters.

For more information, and examples of walks in Northmavine and Shetland, download the Shetland Islands Tourism 'Walking in Shetland' leaflet. pdf file

Information on walks in Shetland from the 'Walk in Scotland' website.

Visit Shetland - Walking



Local resident cycling!

Shetland has smooth roads with amazing scenery round every corner, and Northmavine is no different. There is a wide new road between Mavis Grind and the Ollaberry Junction but most of the roads are narrower with passing places. With little traffic, Northmavine's roads are ideal for the cyclist to take time to explore the area.

Off-road cycling makes an exciting option with lot of tracks to explore.

For more information, and examples of cycle runs in Northmavine, download the Shetland Islands Tourism 'Cycling in Shetland' leaflet. pdf file
Shetland is part of the North Sea Cycle Route.

An overview of cycling in Shetland plus Ollaberry-Eshaness route guide. "Quiet roads, sea cliffs and wild beaches."

Visit Shetland - Cycling

Shetland Wheelers - cycling club



Sea Angling

The seas off Northmavine are a great place for catching mackerel, ling or haddock or you might want to take on the bigger challenge of halibut or porbeagle shark! It may be possible to charter a local sea-angling boat - locals can put you in touch with someone who would be willing to take you off fishing in their boat so you can catch your own dinner!

Trout Fishing

North of Ronas Hill are numerous freshwater lochs - some of the best trout fishing in Shetland!

"For the adventurous trout fisherman, Shetland is a dream come true. With more than three hundred lochs, and a supply of hard fighting, wild brown trout that rival any in Britain, it is a paradise for anglers of all ages."

For more information on trout fishing in Northmavine and where to fish, download the Shetland Islands Tourism 'Trout Fishing in Shetland' leaflet. pdf file

Shetland Anglers' Association

Visit Shetland - Fishing


Rock Climbing


rock climbing at Eshaness

Northmavine - the ideal place for
'extreme tourism'!


Climb Shetland is a club which aims to promote climbing in Shetland and provide a link between climbers around the islands.

Climb Shetland classes Eshaness as "Shetland's climbing capital".

Eshaness climbs include the Grind of the Navir and Eshaness Lighthouse! Other Northmavine climbs include crags on Ronas Hill and Ronas Voe, as well as the Red Head of Hamar (!) and Heylor.

Weather not too good or you're a beginner? Try the new indoor climbing wall at the Clickimin Leisure Centre in Lerwick.


rock climbing at Eshaness

Photos of rock climbing © Hans Stöteknuel


North Mainland Leisure Centre, Brae

Ten to twenty minutes drive and you're at the North Mainland Leisure Centre in Brae in the neighbouring parish of Delting. Built in 1988, this is a modern centre with swimming pool & lagoon, fitness suite, squash court, community room (which includes a pool table) and a luxurious steam room.

The leisure centre is next to the Brae High School (where Northmavine young people go to Secondary School). After school and at the weekends the centre offers badminton, football, table tennis, basketball and many more activities in the school games hall.


Other Activities

Visit Shetland - Activities


Do you have an interest in a particular activity or sport in Northmavine? If you have information or photos, please contact us and let us know!