This website contains walking information on Unst, the most northerly inhabited island in Shetland.
There is no better time to visit Shetland - and Unst in particular should be visited by everyone. The dramatically beautiful, windswept island is a splendid example of the diversity of the British Isles. All walkers will understand the beauty of the seasons but at 60 degrees north the light in Unst in autumn and early spring will remain with you for a lifetime. Visitors to Unst can be treated to a display of the Northern Lights from September onwards.
In October 2011 Unst became the 71st Walkers are Welcome community and the first island to achieve this recognition. At 60 degrees north, Unst, the island above all others, lies on the same latitude as Anchorage Alaska, Southern Greenland and St Petersburg in Russia.
Unst has a growing reputation as the activity island of Shetland. Walking, fishing in sea & loch, cycling, canoeing, bird and wildlife viewing, photography, painting, "Viking Unst" and Shetland Geopark sites are all popular. Unst is 47 square miles in area, almost 12 miles long and 5 miles wide and has 60 miles of coastline.
Unst has some of the very best walking in Europe.
In midsummer Unst has 19 hours of measured daylight.
Thousands of years of heritage history.
More Viking sites than anywhere else in Europe.
420 million years of Geopark history.
10 sandy beaches.
Unst Walkers are Welcome have selected 9 Unst walks to provide visitors with the widest possible choice, from a simple one hour nature walk to a serious full day clifftop walk. If you have the time and the commitment, the whole coastline can be walked as it was by RAF groups each year up to 2004 before the Radar Base here closed. The Radar still operates today but with very much reduced staff numbers. Some walks are waymarked, some will need compass and navigation skills.
Our neighbouring island of Fetlar, with a population under 70, has a further 6 identified walks over moorland, clifftop and seashore.
The Shetland Islands Council inter-island ferry service links Unst, Fetlar and Yell.
For Ferry bookings, phone 01595 745804 or book online at www.shetland.gov.uk/ferries/ferry-booking
Unst WAW have taken every precaution to ensure that all walkers are provided with safety information. This is available at as many locations as possible and our information has been read and approved by our local police and coastguard.
Unst Partnership Ltd Unst Community Council
The Saxavord Resort
May 2023 - Please note that the Saxavord Resort is part of a plan to build a satellite launching centre on Unst.
No bookings for meals or accommodation are being taken at present. More info at https://shetlandspacecentre.com/
Walking trails at Skaw or Lamba Ness may be off limits if construction work is taking place.
2023 - Driving to Skaw/Lamba Ness is not permitted for the general public. Construction traffic only.
The above bodies and organisations do not and will not take responsibility for anyone who gets injured or lost in the process of walking or completing any of the WAW Unst walks or trails. All visitors and residents are responsible for their own safety, having the correct clothing and navigation skills. Always be prepared as the weather can change quickly here.
The Walkers are Welcome scheme is different in that it emerged from, and is being promoted by communities themselves. The idea was first discussed in 2006, became a reality when the Pennine town of Hebden Bridge became the first WAW community closely followed by Moffat in Scotland. Over 100 communities now have the Walkers are Welcome status. Our community of Unst is very proud to be the very first island to be recognised.
The Walkers are Welcome idea and brand is collectively managed by the communities themselves, real grassroots democracy in action.
Walkers are Welcome criteria
All Walkers are Welcome locations have achieved community and local business support.
Full details of benefits of Walkers are Welcome are available at www.walkers are welcome.org.uk
Walkers are Welcome would normally promote local transport but Unst only has two buses each day to the Shetland main town of Lerwick.
Photos by Rob Brookes, unless otherwise stated