Manson's Guide to Shetland - Page 2 - Hillswick, Boating and Fishing


Manson's Guide to ShetlandEven from the comparatively secluded situation of the houses around Hillswick, the scenery is impressive, formed chiefly by fairly high, but very rugged hills enclosing the broad Øra-firth, that runs north in the direction of Rønies Voe, and at the head of which there are houses and a shop. The opportunity lies close at hand, moreover, of sampling some of the best sea-and rock-scenery in Shetland, for the Ness of Hillswick, only a mile and a half long, provides some wonderful views, and possesses along its own shores considerable cliffs, besides being an exceedingly rich field for the mineralogist (see Essay on Geology). The round of the Ness makes a capital forenoon ramble of about four miles.

Among the first things seen after climbing a low hill on the ness are the Drongs, remarkable-looking rocks rising up out of the sea, over half a mile west of the Ness, with a great many other fangs intervening between them and the shore. The Drongs, which have often been likened to a ship with sails spread, are a focus of interest from all surrounding parts, including Eshaness, but they are best examined by boat (the photograph of them reproduced in this book was taken from a boat).Manson's Guide to Shetland

Beyond the Drongs is seen, about four miles off, the mammoth-like rock called the Dore Holm. Again this is a case for a boat, as the Holm has two fine arches, and it assumes surprising new Manson's Guide illustrationaspects as it is encircled. The Holm lies just south of the peninsula of Eshaness, and from the highest point of Hillswick Ness (Orisfiel, 256 feet, just above the south-west cliffs of the Ness) can be seen the fine sweep of the rocky, indented coast from Eshaness to the neck of Hillswick Ness.


Manson's Guide to ShetlandA closer and better view is obtained from the neck itself, at the little inlet just behind the hotel, whence one can look north into the circle of cliffs forming Sandwick, and west along rising seabanks to the Heads of Grocken, which are followed by a curve of high cliffs terminating in a point, the Neap, with the Runk stack lying off it, after which the land runs up out of sight into the wide, deep bay of Breiwick. From the heights of the Ness of Hillswick there is obtained, moreover, a fine view of the vast St. Magnus Bay, bounded by Sandness and Papa Stoor on the south; and a view of distant Foola quite different from the commonly-known aspect of it, as seen from the south or middle-west Mainland.

Boating and Fishing

The use of a boat has already been suggested as desirable for the fullest enjoyment even of the scenery round Hillswick, which is mainly rock-scenery. Sea-fishing is also, however, a great feature of a holiday at Hillswick. Øra-firth and the waters just outside are prolific fishing-grounds for both haddocks and piltocks. Visitors at the hotel can engage the hotel launch, or a rowing-boat can be more cheaply obtained for the use of two or three people, and as jolly a night as one can spend is there for the taking. The visitor should not omit to read the special article in this book on sea-fishing, and for particular advice and instruction as to fishing and tackle he need not hesitate to ask the local people.


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