Brough Lodge: a remarkable site on the Shetland island of Fetlar Brough Lodge

About Fetlar

Fetlar is the fourth largest island in the Shetland Isles, but it has one of lowest population levels. It lies in the northeast part of Shetland, roughly between the larger islands of Yell and Unst; to the east of Yell and to the south of Unst. The island is approximately seven miles long and four miles broad at its greatest points.

The island is known as The Garden of Shetland because of its rich, fertile soil. This also means that there is a verdant green appearance throughout much of the island, making it one of the prettiest of the Shetland Isles. The island is also very interesting from a geological standpoint, with the Funzie Conglomerate found the southeast corner of the island being especially unique in the British Isles.

Fetlar's other main point of interest is its birds. The island is one of the best places in Shetland for seeing all kinds of bird life, including the rare red-necked phalarope which breeds there in summer. Fetlar often has the entire British population of red-necked phalaropes - around 15 to 20 breeding pairs usually. There is a public RSPB bird hide near the Loch of Funzie on the east side of the island overlooking the breeding area of the red-necked phalaropes, offering one of the best places to see them.

The island has a single shop and post office with limited opening times, but no petrol or diesel is sold there. Fetlar is serviced by an excellent roll-on, roll-off vehicle and passenger ferry from both Yell and Unst several times a day. The local museum, Fetlar Interpretive Centre, is full of excellent information about, and interpretation of, the island, and is definitely worth a visit.

Fetlar has a modern community hall situated roughly in the middle of the island. It is open to serve teas and snacks every day in summer, and at weekends on Saturday evenings there is a bar available. The community hall also has free wifi available. There are also several places offering bed and breakfast accommodation on the island.

Fetlar offers the visitor peace and solitude. It is one of the best islands for walking, or just sitting quietly on a warm summer's day on one of its several sandy beaches in quiet contemplation. The island is a place of surprises with so much for the visitor to discover. It is an excellent place to see otters, quite difficult to spot elsewhere in Britain. In fact, the coastline around Brough Lodge offers one of the best places to catch sight of the elusive otter, though patience is required.

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