Manson's Guide to Shetland - Page 8 - Rønies Hill, Literary Note, Archaeological Notes

Rønies Hill

The mountain of Rønies Hill, the highest land in Shetland, (1475 feet) is centrally situated in Northmavine, and is easily accessible from any of the centres for visitors, though Ollaberry is nearest to it, while by crossing Rønies Voe from Heylor and going half up the Hill, a fine approach to the West Banks is open to the more active among Hillswick visitors. From Ollaberry to the summit of the Hill a quick and interesting approach, about five miles in length, is by branch road to the junction with the main road, thence west across hills, above the head of Rønies Voe, across the Bum of Orrwick and on to the next burn, the Gr0d Bum, the one that flows down to Fjael; then up the gulley of this bum to its source, a small loch over 1100 feet above the sea, and thence to the summit.

Manson's Guide to ShetlandFrom a little below the summit on the north side a wonderful panorama of loch-scenery is seen spread out towards 0ya and Fedeland. An easier but longer approach, over eight miles from Ollaberry, and over six from North R0, is first to the bend in the Burn of R0rwater after the Bjorgs of Hooster, then along the winding tops of successive spurs to the summit. This is one of the easiest ascents.

If it is desired on the way to tramp round by the lochs and see the Lang Ayre from above, it is about seven miles from North R0 and eight and a half or nine from Ollaberry. This approach, once the climb is begun, is over the top of a straight ridge. The most arduous approach, but the one rewarded with the best views, is from Rønies Voe, crossing the voe by means of a boat from Heylor.

As the hill is ascended, the south cliffs of Rønies Voe assume a fine, columnar appearance, and the panorama rapidly widens and gains in interest. The top of the hill is wide, level. boulder- and stone-strewn, and is crowned with what Mr Corrie describes as the finest example of a chambered cairn in Shetland. But if the day be clear, the grandest view in all Shetland is obtained over a sweep of not less than 80 miles, the Islands lying below like a map. Muckle Flugga Lighthouse and Fair Isle are both seen, so that the two utmost extremities of the archipelago are in view, though Orkney is far below the horizon. The Wart of Bressay and Noss are seen. Lerwick being hidden. Sumburgh Head is hidden, but Fitful Head is clear, and in between lies a marvellous panorama of hill and loch, voe and sea. According to one writer, from the summit of this hill "during clear nights at midsummer the reflected rays of the sun in setting have not ceased to be discernible, when those of its rising became visible in the east."

Literary note

At Sandvoe, North R0, was bom JAMES INKSTER, author of Mansie's Rod, written in the old Shetland dialect This work is considered by competent judges to be the most realistic representation ever penned of the old crofting life in Shetland and owing to its old language has proved of great value to philologists.

Archaeological Notes

Northmavine parish possesses many sites of archaeological interest and some of them are of special interest and importance. For example, on the top of Rønies Hill we have perhaps the most complete chambered cairn that can be seen in Shetland, and near Mangaster there is another fine chambered cairn and the denuded remains of two other structures of the same class. Similar remains occur farther eastwards near the Loch of Hooster, North R0. An interesting prehistoric burial site occurs close to the sea near Nister, but no evidence of this discovery is now exposed. An urn, recovered from the burial, is now preserved in Edinburgh. The parish also claims eight or nine broch sites at Burravoe, Loch of Hoolland, Hillswick, Orbister, North Gluss, Loch of Burraland, Sullom, Voe, North R0 and Fedeland, but practically all of them have been levelled. The one at the Loch of Hoolland, in part, survives and is well worth a visit.

Standing stones, in pairs are to be found near the Giant's Grave at North R0, and on Hamnavoe Hill, and there is a single, but rather insignificant boulder on the Mill Knowes near the Loch of Burraland. Burnt mounds may be seen near the Cross Kirk of Eshaness on the Bight of Niddister, and the remains of others occur elsewhere throughout the parish. Early ecclesiastical sites have been recorded at Burn of ringen. Cross Kirk at Eshaness, Hillswick, Hooll in North R0 I^orfcha House, and North Gluss, and some interesting churchyard memorial crosses and slabs may be seen in the burial grounds at Hillswick and Hooll. A group of unusual structures exists on the Bjorgs of Booster, near North R0, and there are said to be traces of soapstone working and sculpturings near Fedeland.Manson's Guide to Shetland


(Motor launch. Fishing permits issued).


Mr PETER ANDERSON, Scarpa, Hamarsvoe. Two rooms attached to dwelling-house.
Mr JAS. A. YOUNG, Mangaster, Sullom. Furnished cottage
Mrs DAVID TULLOCH, Lochside, North Roe. Cottage furnished to let from 1st June; living-room; one single and one double bedroom; firing included.


Miss ROBERTSON, Sunuyside House, Ollaberry. Accommodation for eight visitors, with attendance
Mrs ROBERTSON, Leon, Ollaberry. Diningroom and double bedroom; own fishing rights; boat provided
Mrs TULLOCH, Fairview, North R0. One double and three single bedrooms with attendance.


ESHANESS.—James Anderson, 4-seater Saloon, 4-seater Tourer
HILLSWICK—Laur. Hunter, 4-seater Tourer, Thomas A Jamieson 4-seater Saloon; R. W. & A. H. Sandison, two 4-seater Saloons and one 5-seater Saloon.
URAFIRTH.—John Tulloch, 4-seater Saloon.
SULLOM.—Arthur Peterson, 4-seater Tourer.