Shetland - Northmavine Community Website
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About Northmavine

"Largest, wildest and most beautiful parish in Shetland"

JR Tudor, The Orkneys and Shetland, 1883.

map of Shetland
Northmavine, also known as Northmaven, (north maev-eid - north of the narrow isthmus) at 17 miles north to south and 11 miles east to west, is the largest parish in Shetland and the most northerly on the Shetland mainland. It is almost an island - joined to the mainland by a 100 yard strip of land at Mavis Grind.

Mavis Grind (gate of the narrow isthmus) separates the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea and until the 1950s, fishermen carried their boats across as a short cut between fishing grounds. If you feel strong you can try to throw a stone from ocean to sea!

Northmavine - both wild and glorious - has some of the best scenery in Shetland, with many beautiful viewpoints accessible by car. It has a spectacular coastline with rugged sea stacks, cliffs, waterfalls, beautiful, deserted beaches and boasts Shetland's highest hill, Ronas Hill. (1,486 feet, 450 metres)


The Drongs - sea stacks

The Drongs © Alistair Williamson

To the east lies Sullom Voe, Shetland's largest sea inlet, and to the west is St. Magnus Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, which has pounded the land into a scene of breathtaking beauty full of stunning cliffs, stacks, geos, blowholes, natural arches and caves. There are numerous scenic voes (inlets) and trout-filled lochs - an angler's paradise!

Shetland ponies with Doreholm behind  

Shetland ponies, Eshaness, with Doreholm behind © Fiona Cope


Northmavine can boast "the best walks in Shetland" (Peter Guy, author of the 'Walking in Shetland' series of books) and is rich in wildlife, rocks and plants with many historical and archaelogical remains. 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." Much of Northmavine comprises of red granite which contrasts beautifully with the green grass in the summer and is a haven for birdwatchers - many species, including puffins, being seen here.


  Puffins © Alistair Williamson




The population of Northmavine (around 840) is located around the main settlement areas of Hillswick, Ollaberry, North Roe and Sullom. There are modern primary schools and health facilities in the area and each area has its own local community hall. There are shops at Hillswick and Ollaberry and public toilets at the Hillswick waterfront, the Eshaness café and the Ollaberry shop. Cash is available from shops & post offices. Public halls in the area are often open in the summer for Sunday Teas serving delicious homebakes. Northmavine's industries include aquaculture - salmon, mussels, and scallops - fishing and fish processing, crofting and farming, and tourism.